Since 1988 I’ve been working with Hall of Fame athletes from all four major sports as well as business owners and non-profits, expanding their brands and making them more profitable. One of the biggest obstacles I’ve seen with the players or businesses that don’t remain at a high level is not continuing the hard work that got them to that level in the first place. Don’t get complacent.
Failure is a relative term
Failure is an interesting word, defined as a lack of success in doing or achieving something. Here’s the thing about failure, it carries a label, and labels can be hard to shake; labels can paralyze you. In Major League Baseball, the Hall of Fame is littered with so called failures, players that 70% of the time did not get a hit, and yet they are the best of the best.
Learn from your mistakes
Failure has something to teach you—generally a lot more than success can. Perseverance is imperative: Michael Jordan was famously cut from his high school team. He could have slunk off to his house and never played basketball again. Instead, he used that experience as his motivation to practice and train harder than anyone else. Six NBA Championships, five MVP Awards two Olympic Gold Medals and a NCAA championship are proof that you can recover from a difficult circumstance to achieve greatness.
Challenge yourself to find the courage to explore your limits and take chances. Michael Jordan quit the NBA to play Minor League Baseball and pursue his dream. He spent a year traveling on a bus and grinding his way across the South and Midwest. Eventually, he realized it wasn’t working so he went back to the NBA, where he won three more championships. Failure is only a bad thing if you keep repeating the reason behind it, instead of using it as a springboard to success. When you can learn the appropriate lesson and utilize that knowledge in your next endeavor, it will all have been worth it.
Don’t get complacent
In my experience working with the many Hall of Fame athletes, business owners and non-profit directors, their common theme is a strong desire to excel. The most successful have a tremendous work ethic—they’re constantly reading, learning, studying their competition and have a plan. Despite that, the cold hard truth is, on the way to success we all will experience failure. In the end, it’s how we deal with those failures that separate the Hall of Famers from the mediocre.