Innovation360-Dallas

Responding to the reality of failure: Part 2

The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well…

– Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee and father of the modern Olympic Games.

I recently had the opportunity to go to London and watch a close friend compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. She was 1 of 10,000 athletes competing. While the honor and most of the media attention is deservedly given to the victors, I could not help but think of the other athletes who left London failing to realize their dream. Only 962 medals were awarded during these games. That means more than 90% of the athletes did not medal. How did this overwhelming majority respond to defeat?

How about the countless others from all over the world who train for years, and some almost their entire lives, yet fail to make their respective countries’ Olympic team? How do they respond to the disappointment?

Here at i360 one of our goals is to help our clients respond to success and failure in a way that leads to vibrant, fulfilling lives. In order to do this, we must each ask ourselves, “How do I respond to failure?” Where do I find the will and determination to move forward in a positive direction?

Here are 6 ideas of how we can face and respond to the reality of failure in our lives in a way that will help us find the fulfillment and joy that we are all seeking:

(For the beginning part of this blog, and the first of the 6 suggestions on how to best respond to failure, please visit our previous blog by clicking here.)

4. Stop “Should-ing” on Yourself When we experience defeat its easy to focus on the negative—what I did wrong, what I should have done differently. The problem with should-ing is that it perpetuates the distorted thoughts about yourself and reality. If you find yourself doing this often, ask yourself, “do I have unrealistic expectations for myself? Do I spend a great deal of time dwelling on what I should have done or what I should be doing? If so, practice identifying the times you do this and replace those distorted thoughts with a more realistic assessment of yourself and the situation, e.g. “Nobody is perfect; it’s ok to make a mistake. I learned something new about myself, and how to improve my performance today. The next opportunity I get, I’ll know exactly what to do.” Take 1 day this week and keep track of your “shoulds.” The more you become aware of it and attack those pesky varmints, the less should-ing you will do.

5. Share Your Dream – Surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who will walk with you through best and worst times, and people who will never give up on you—even when you want to give up on yourself. Prioritize these people in your life. Invest in your relationship with them, and share your journey with them. Then you’ll have a supportive ear to listen after a defeat, or someone to celebrate with after a success.

6. Discover Yourself Daily – What are you passionate about? What drives and motivates you? We are human beings living in a constant state of change. Take time each week to discover something new about yourself.

When top tennis player Novac Djokavic was just 5 years old, tennis coach Jelena Gencic discovered his gift. She knew he would be a star one day. She immediately began coaching and mentoring Djokavic. As part of his training, Gencic insisted he listen to classical music, learn at least 2 foreign languages, and recite poetry. When asked why she did that, Djokavic responded, 
“It was her educational method. And the music served as a form of relaxation after the stress of training. Actually, it still does that today. I like to listen to classical music.”

Even though, Djokavic trained for hours and hours everyday, Gencic required him to discover himself daily. To learn about what he likes, and doesn’t like. What helps calm him down in times of stress, and what doesn’t. This week try listening to a new genre of music and check out a live band. Try that exotic food that you always tell people you hate, but secretly never tried. Try white water rafting, stand up paddle boarding, or a new book. Doing this for yourself will not only be fun, but will also help you find balance in your life.

These are only some ideas. What works for you? We at i360 would love to hear from you about this topic!

Written by Mitch Isle, LPC

Innovation360-Dallas

Responding to the reality of failure: Part 1

“The important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well…”

– Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the International Olympic Committee and father of the modern Olympic Games.

I recently had the opportunity to go to London and watch a close friend compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. She was 1 of 10,000 athletes competing. While the honor and most of the media attention is deservedly given to the victors, I could not help but think of the other athletes who left London failing to realize their dream. Only 962 medals were awarded during these games. That means more than 90% of the athletes did not medal. How did this overwhelming majority respond to defeat?

How about the countless others from all over the world who train for years, and some almost their entire lives, yet fail to make their respective countries’ Olympic team? How do they respond to the disappointment?

Asking these questions led me to think about our lives – the big picture. Let’s face it, as fallible human beings living in a world in which, to a great extent, people, events and things are outside our realm of control, defeat and failure are a part of our reality. Yet, we discover a passion. We set a goal. And then we put all of our effort into striving to reach that goal. Sometimes we are successful, and sometimes we are not.

Here at i360 one of our goals is to help our clients respond to success and failure in a way that leads to vibrant, fulfilling lives. In order to do this, we must each ask ourselves, “How do I respond to failure?” Where do I find the will and determination to move forward in a positive direction?

Here are 6 ideas of how we can face and respond to the reality of failure in our lives in a way that will help us find the fulfillment and joy that we are all seeking:

1. For What it’s Worth – Resilience. It’s the ability to recover readily from adversity. When it comes to responding in a positive way to failure, this is what we need. Would you say you are resilient? Or, do you have a general sense of personal inadequacy, that when triggered by external things, sends you in a downward emotional spiral of depression and worthlessness for extended periods of time? If it is the latter, you may be living as though your self-worth is contingent upon your performance and success, or upon the approval of others. The good news, however, is that it does not have to be that way. The reality is that a person’s worth is not defined by external things or people, but by the inner, core self. That core self is unique, precious and of unconditionalunchanging value. I understand that for some (I’m including myself in this group) this reality is easy to grasp, but very difficult to accept at the core, believe it, and live it out. In this case, I suggest investing some time and resources into your own personal counseling. There are possibly some deep-rooted issues that may be hindering your movement forward in this area of your life. It may be painful to face these hurtful things, but speaking from my own experience in therapy, it will be time, energy, and money well spent, and you will be giving yourself the opportunity to experience a greater sense of self-worth, the resilience to overcome mountains you thought were previously unscalable, and the ability to live a more fulfilling life.

2. Setting Goals – Every goal has smaller steps to achieve in order to get you there. Be intentional. Set short-term, achievable goals for yourself that will help you realize your dream. Achieving these short-term goals along the way will provide encouragement throughout the process.

3. Reframe the Defeat – Ask yourself the question, “How do I view failure? What comes to mind? Do you like your perspective? If not, listen to Michael Jordan’s perspective on failure:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Never fear failure; fear not trying, fear not giving your best, fear losing focus, but never fear failure. Failure is the path to success. Failure is the sign that you’re headed in the right direction. To succeed twice as fast, fail twice as much. Fail often, fail daily, and soon you will succeed. I’ve never been afraid to fail.”

When you fail, you learn. And when you learn, you grow and mature. So try something different today. Begin to practice taking risks. Of course this does not mean throw caution to the wind and be reckless with your safety or the safety of others. But, instead “try on” Jordan’s perspective. Take ownership of it, and have some fun. When you believe there is a benefit to failing, it makes taking risks easier. And the more you risk, the easier it is to get back up after a defeat.

Click here for the rest of the ideas in a blog entitled PART TWO.

Written by Mitch Isle, LPC