|Image courtesy of: Sakurambo|
Throughout modern history there have been countless men and women who have been tremendously successful who will tell you their secret is they failed more than everyone else. Thomas Edison failed at making the light bulb over a thousand times before he found the right formula. I recently saw an old interview with Michael Jordan where he detailed, how many games he lost at the free throw line. I have a few friends who have made their careers as accomplished salesmen in the corporate world. Those that have been successful often say they achieved success by hearing “no” from more of their clients than their peers. Failure provides the experience for future success.
Much as I discussed in a previous blog about the purpose of testing being to provide information, a failure or a success should be analyzed in a similar light. What worked well, what did not work well and what we will do different when the next opportunity arises. Complaining about why the sale did not go through, why the ball did not make it in the basket, why the product is not ready to go; creates a barrier to future success. True you might not have accomplished the task you wanted this time, but confusing the issue by pointing fingers or talking down your competition does nothing more than to cloud your mind. These negative methods do not allow personal growth and development. In fact they often will alienate the people who could be part of a future success.
The other side of this coin is the person who wins the game, gets the sale or brings the new product to market and then lauds it over the competition. How you treat others when you succeed should mirror how you would want others to treat you when you fail. While you should feel good about your accomplishment it should not be based on smearing someone else’s face in the mud. Congratulate your competition on a hard fought game; convey that you admire and respect their abilities and look forward to future opportunities to match skills. While they might not be happy with their defeat, they will appreciate the respect and dignity you showed them and will likely return the favor when the tables are turned.
Be the positive role model you want to see in others. If you win or lose with a toxic attitude you will find that others do not want to be around you. When you face failure be self reflective about what you personally could have done different or better. When you triumph be graceful and share the glory; be sure to credit those who helped make the success possible. The choice is always yours – it is best to have others to share future successes and failures with rather than to stand as an island alone.