Try. Fail. Try Again!

(Truth in blogging, the following was inspired by a recent failure. Yesterday along with my team at SynerVision Leadership Foundation, I attempted to integrate a new feature into our website as we prepare to launch. We figured out a lot, but it looked like a complete failure!)

If you have ever been part of the roll-out of any product or service, you certainly recognize the inherent failure of trying something new – it often flops. It might be better to classify that the first iteration of that new product or service flops. The product (whatever it may be) fails to actualize the image that you have held for it, its functioning is glitchy, and you have a hard time seeing people actually use it. With services it is often the unanswered question of how someone purchases it, redeems it, how do you market it, and make special deals on it.

If this is where we stopped, we would often have a whole list of failures that would make us want to give up. How many things are “perfect” on the first try? Quick answer – none of them (or as close to that as you can imagine)!

Why is it that we give up on the beauty of our dreams when failure happens? Is it the little voice sitting over us telling us “you’re not good enough for this to be a success”? Think about, Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up” and more famously (and more disputed – if he didn’t actually say it, he should have), “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

So stop it. Get over your feeling sorry. Get back out there and try again! ImageThe world is full of people who have failed countless more times than you and are now referred to in reverent tones for their success.  Reggie Jackson has the most strikeouts by any Major League Baseball hitter in history, but more importantly is known as Mr. October, a Hall of Famer, a man who hit over 500 home runs, made it to 14-All-Star games and won five World Series championships, along with two Silver Slugger Awards, the 1973 American League (AL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award, two World Series MVP Awards, and the 1977 Babe Ruth Award – yep, you can guess it, people don’t often talk about those strikeouts!

Go. Try. Fail. Come back, dust yourself off then try again! Not doing so is the only thing that would allow this learning to truly be failure!

Owning your differences, while respecting others uniqueness

This post is part of a 4-post series on humility that began yesterday.

I am not sure when I really started to get it. I can think of moments along the way. When I was the only kid in my sixth grade class that voted for George H. W. Bush in the 1992 Presidential Election (though 1 other kid voted for Perot). When I sought work in politics just out of high school. Or even when a life in ministry was actually appealing as a 20-something. I was different, and I owned that.

The reality was, that while I was learning to appreciate my own differences, it wasn’t until my mid-20s that I really began to appreciate the uniqueness I found in others. No, not just my friends, schoolmates, and co-workers. I mean the person living in the homeless shelter, the family struggling to make ends meet while working multiple jobs and getting assistance from the government, or even those people whose lives had been broken by addiction. I had previously either overlooked or discarded these people.

Two of the core realities of the humility construct are a willingness to learn/teachability and a willingness to see the strengths of others. While I had grown in my willingness to examine myself accurately, I had not often given the same right to others. When you  step back and open yourself up to learning from others and appreciating who they are (regardless of the baggage we all carry), something amazing happens.

My life has grown so much from people who are different than I am. They share with me their stories and allow me into their world which looks and feels nothing like my existence. These are amazing and humbling moments in which you understand that the world is much greater than just your own perspective.

Through others giving me permission to learn their story, I find that even in most of vast disagreement we can do so providing dignity, honor, and respect for one another and how we have reached our conclusions, values, and actions.  I have owned my differences for years, but now I continue to learn how to respect the uniqueness of others.

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