2009 – a New Year

It is the time of year when many of us make our “New Years Resolutions”. We all start off with the greatest intention and then don’t follow through. It makes you wonder, IS CHANGE REALLY POSSIBLE?
Most people achieved their greatest success one step beyond what looked like their greatest failure….. The fastest way to succeed,” IBM’s Thomas Watson, Sr., once said, “is to double your failure rate.” In recent years, more and more executives have embraced Watson’s point of view, coming to understand what innovators have always known: Failure is a prerequisite to invention and success. Although both companies and individuals  may grasp the value of making mistakes at the level of corporate practices, they have a harder time accepting the idea at the personal level.
What’s crucial is the presence of failure-tolerant leaders– coaches and teachers who, through their words and actions, help gymnasts overcome their anxieties about making mistakes and, in the process, create a culture of intelligent risk-taking that leads to sustained innovation and motivation.
Coaches and Teachers need to  break down the social and bureaucratic barriers that separate them from their students. Engage them at a personal level. You must take a nonjudgmental, analytical posture as they interact with gymnasts as well as staff. You need to openly admit your own mistakes and try to root out the destructive competitiveness built into most organizations.
Become a failure-tolerant leader. Above all else, failure-tolerant leaders  push people to see beyond traditional definitions of success and failure. They know that as long as a person views failure as the opposite of success, rather than its complement, they will never be able to take the risks necessary for success.
Is change possible?  A lot of people will tell you it isn’t- especially the ones who have had a lot of practice with failure. The biggest deterrent to sticking to an exercise plan, losing weight, or improving grades is the idea that we have failed in the past, and, hence were doomed to fail again.

Let me propose a new paradigm:  Failure is Not an option.  Failure is a prerequisite.  Those who achieve success are not those who never fail; they are those who learn from failure and move on.

Pete Carroll was laughed out of Foxboro and the NFL before he became the most dominant coach in college football.

Donald Trump was seeking bankruptcy protection before he made his real estate fortune.

Terrin Humphry made the USA National Team for the first time 1 year before making an Olympic Team.

These are not people who said well, I tried, I failed, I think I will sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself.
They failed, and then they adjusted and changed.

This is the time of year when a lot of us would like to invite change into our lives. We’d like to clean out the cobwebs, suction off the fat, improve our grades and hit our new tumbling passes. But as much as we hope, forces align themselves with the same old same old. It is almost like an echo of the force of gravity.
– Marriages made in Hollywood fall apart.
– Politicians remind us of what they gave up to pursue their career.
– The Red Sox will Never win a World Series. WAIT! They won! And with that is the realization – We are not stuck in the dead on winter – we are just 7 short weeks from the start of spring training!
– JO Nationals is just 15 weeks away.

New research from the University of Sheffield in England tells us that if you can stick with a new initiative, whether it is for grades or workout, for 5 short weeks it will become habit.

The habit of STRONG.
The habit of LEAN.
The habit of CALM.

But to attain this mastery use another phrase, Forgive and Forget. We tend to think this means forgiving others- but the sins we most need to forgive are OUR OWN. They stand in the way of achieving true greatness. So, if you can, try to accept the lesson and discard guilt.

Change isn’t just possible; it can be achieved by the time the pitchers and catchers arrive in Florida.

In our sport change is necessary. If we didn’t accept change we would still be competing on horse hair mats instead of a spring floor. The Beam would still be wood and the bars close enough to beat your hips on.

– Be NOT afraid of going slowly, Be afraid only of standing still.
“Pain is temporary, it may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it will last forever.” Lance Armstrong.

Comments are closed.