“I learned I wasn’t in charge of success. I was in charge of the process that hopefully would yield more success than failure. I began to be guided by three navigational stakes:
- My process and my diligence to execute was the best I could do.
- My attitude and determination to remain positive and confident was a critical catalyst for my success.
- My resiliency and ability to see failure as but a speed bump on the road to success allowed me to get back up when I was knocked down. “
These are keen insights from Peter Gruber, in his blog post: “Dealing With The Turkeys In Your Life.” At a time, when we are experiencing a lot of chaos, uncertainty and failure – by leaders, corporations and organizations – it’s important to take a longer-term perspective and understand the science of success. You cannot omit failure from the equation, particularly if you are wrestling with building alternative solutions in a complex and changing landscape.
The key is accepting and working with this reality, learning to play and keep your ego in check. Really living like you can’t control others and events, is the first step to wisdom. Acting on what you can control and accepting what you can’t is necessary to taking control of your life or your organization. Anyone in sales will tell you, being successful is a numbers game.
I hate sports analogies but a baseball one is helpful here: the more times up at bat the greater your opportunity to score runs. The more you risk, the greater your chances of succeeding are. This also raises your chance of failing as well. Babe Ruth, an American baseball player who, in his day, beat the record for highest number of homeruns, also had a significantly high number of strikeouts. Why? Every time he was up at bat he gave it his all and was trying for the homerun. His homerun to hits was about 3:1.
If you aren’t risking and sticking your neck out until you feel uncertain, then you are missing an opportunity for real growth – which always lies beyond that which you know or have mastered. Once you’ve done your due diligence and analysis, any decision has an element of artistry or judgment. These days that element may be more pronounced. Failure must accompany sustained or repeated success. Accept this and move on.
It’s not about never failing but asking yourself, what do you do when you fail? Cover it up, rationalize it or own it. How do you learn from it and incorporate it into you how you move forward? What kind of support do you need to increase and sustain the amount of time you are stretched out on a limb?
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