This week I talk about one of my pet peeve turns of phrase. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” I won’t reiterate my take on it here, because I already discussed it in the vlog (which you should totally go watch, plug plug). Instead, let me turn my attention to a very different one that is still related. “The fix is in.”

This is a sports term. It has to do with the outcome of a contest being ‘fixed’ or rigged. And in the context of those contests, and any betting associated with it, it’s a bad thing. But let’s think about it in terms of storytelling. A fictional tale always has a fixed ending. While characters grow and change, their arcs are also fixed, at least in terms of their anchors throughout the tale. Authors set their characters up for either success or failure, pretty much from the beginning.

I think, as individuals, we owe it to ourselves to set ourselves up, too.

Setting yourself up for success takes a conscious effort. It’s an idea I’ve heard more and more about as I’ve worked as a barista. Beans, pitchers of milk, sleeves for cups – these are all things that can be stocked or prepared to make future work easy for co-workers. As individuals, we can, and probably should, sort our thoughts, emotions, and internal processes into helpful patterns. This takes time, and often external help, but it’s setting ourselves up for success. It’s putting in the fix. It’s giving you a sure thing on which to bet – yourself.

The alternative is setting yourself up for failure.

I don’t necessarily mean failure in an immediate, dramatic sense. Failing yourself doesn’t always take a catastrophic form. In some cases, failure is a state of being. It’s not a failure in acting, it’s a failure to act. If we do not challenge ourselves to change, to look at ourselves as complex beings and seek improvement as well as the correction of mistakes, we fail ourselves. It requires honesty. It requires being proactive. It requires deep breaths, introspection, and more than a couple hard conversations. Where did I go wrong? What mistakes did I make? How did my failures come across to others? Can I make amends? Will I be able to learn from my downfalls, rather than repeating them?

Are you up for it? Are you willing to take an active role in your own progress towards a better version of yourself?

Can you make yourself a sure thing for yourself and others to bet on?