Honestly, defeat is a choice that’s entirely up to you. You can quit or you can learn from your defeat and come at it again from a wiser perspective. Either throw in the towel or figure out a new way when the path is closed to you. Choose to treat yourself with extreme kindness and refuse to abandon yourself when things don’t work out or you can give up.
Defeat comes from within.
Here’s something that’s absolutely true: what others say to/about you will never be what defeats you; it’s what you say/think/believe about yourself. What do you let echo through your head? Or write down and speak aloud about yourself? What actions do you take (because those actions are always aligned with your words/thoughts/beliefs)?
Listen to the language you use when you talk to/about yourself. Are you building yourself up and encouraging yourself? Or are you berating yourself and tearing yourself down? The answer matters. The former will see you through any challenge that gets thrown at you. The latter leads to giving up.
And if you don’t believe me, just pay attention to your body when you’re talking to/about yourself, your chances, your place in the world, and anything else. Is your head held high? Are your shoulders back? Does your body feel expansive? Or is your chin on your chest? How about your shoulders slumped? Does your body feel like its shrinking into itself? Pay attention the next time you’re talking to and/or describing yourself. Your body really will tell you if you’re helping or hindering yourself.
Do yourself a kindness: speak and think strength to yourself.
Defeat by fear.
Fear shows up in all kinds of ways that you might even recognize as fear. Self-doubt: fear you’re not worthy enough. Perfectionism: fear that you’re not enough. Procrastination: fear that you’re not capable. Confusion: fear of making a mistake. Need to impress: fear of how others perceive you. And on the list goes.
There are two types of fear: real and head (read about the differences in-depth here). Real fear leads to bodily harm or death. Head fear is everything else. Real fear keeps you safe. Head fear keeps you stuck.
You need to be discerning about the type of fear that you’re feeling. Why? So you can tell whether you need to fight/flee for your life or whether you need to take a deep breath and a small step in the direction you want to go. Because that’s the only way to overcome fear: to move right through it to the other side. And once you conquer that fear, you’ll prove to yourself (never to anyone else) just how capable you are.
Do yourself a kindness: pick your biggest fear, break it down into small steps, take a deep breath, then take that first step, then the next and the next and the next . . .
Defeat because you’re not all-in.
I wrote a whole post about this last week (read it here). The gist of it is: you need to choose, right now, whether you want to be all-in or whether you want to get out. Why? Because if you’re not all-in, you’ve got a built-in escape clause (even if it’s subconscious) that when the going gets tough, well, you can quit.
If you’re not all-in, you tend not to make your best effort either. If you’re half-hearted about what you’re doing, you might start out strong but eventually your enthusiasm will wane. You’ll slow down, maybe to a crawl. Then you’ll stop. Maybe you won’t quit, exactly. Maybe you’ll just keep that thing as a mental note to get back to someday, where it’ll clutter up your mind and scatter your focus. That, in my opinion, is still a defeat.
Being partially-in will drain your energy, focus, finances, relationships, and on the list goes. That’s especially true if you’re doing a bunch of different things, trying to juggle it all. If your not all-in, if the completion doesn’t matter deeply to you, well, eventually the exhaustion will overcome you. Maybe not right away, but it will. You’ll get burned out. You’ll give up one or more or all of what you were doing. Defeat will win.
Do yourself a kindness: choose to be all-in or get out now.
So will you choose defeat or will you choose to overcome?