What if failure and winning go hand in hand similar to peanut butter and chocolate? At first glance it appears to be an odd match. So many highly talented athletes needed to experience failure in order to become great. Whether it is in sports, business or life, failure is necessary for the really BIG goals.
Failure has a purpose:
- · Deepens commitment
- · Offers invaluable lessons
- · Leads to course corrections
- · Builds resiliency
- · Learns how to cope with adversity
No one likes a sore loser. The ability for athletes to fail gracefully is admirable. It lights your fire to deeply commit to excellence.
Lance Arnstrong was unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer in the prime of his career. To discover his testicular cancer had spread to his lungs and brains was shocking. This would have been the end for many of us. Then he had to battle cancer not once but twice.
Because of his experience Armstrong quickly reset his priorities. Mindset. Armstrong was forced to release old beliefs which would free him up for greater achievements. His health failure led to innovation. Suddenly his world, as he knew it, didn’t exist anymore. The old beliefs transitioned into stepping stones for a new higher level of commitment. His entire approach to cycling, racing and life transformed.
Lance Armstrong states, “I can now say that my life is better because of my cancer experience. Though I wouldn’t wish it for anyone, I believe I appreciate my life in a completely new and better way because I faced cancer and was lucky enough to survive.”
Athletes and coaches have it all wrong. You don’t want to view failure as the end result. A stopping point. Viewing it from a black and white perspective of good or bad is limiting.
When coaches, parents and teams judge success solely from their wins, they are missing the bigger picture. This narrow view boxes you in. When the focus is only about winning you are robbed from taking risks.
Why take risks? Because it influences change. Experimentation, along with risk-taking, lead to innovation. Combining what you know along with the unknown expands your belief of what is possible. Successful athletes refuse to settle for mediocrity. It is the excitement of pushing the envelope, exploring the limits of your capabilities, which redefine you.
Risk taking, being innovative, frees up your energy.
- · Embrace change
- · Act despite fear
- · Trust in others, and in yourself.
- · Honesty about limiting beliefs
- · Shedding excuses
Take a new perspective. Become innovative. Just like a scientist search for the solution to your biggest challenge. The field. The court. The rink is your laboratory. Be receptive to testing new approaches during practice. Next develop the right combination of mindset, skill set and action to build toward breakthrough performance. How would that change things for you?
Even at NASA, after the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, their researchers adopted a new mindset. They are now excited about failure. Playing it safe led to mistakes which slowed down progress. The new protocol encourages failure. While testing experimental spacecraft they actually cheer when a multi million dollar test rocket explodes. It is seen as being innovative.
Pushing the envelope to set new world records requires risk. Risk requires innovation. So I challenge you to crush your old meaning of failure. It will set you apart from the rest of the competition. Why wait for someone else to set the standard when you can claim it first?
Take a bold stance to discover your ideal approach. Be creative. Make it fun. Access your intuition and listen to your gut. Liberate yourself from the standard, the usual and customary to become a high performing athlete.
Become an innovative athlete; it’s okay to be scared. Although many athletes don’t recognize it they are highly creative. Conforming to the rules just goes against the nature of creative personalities. What is exciting is experiencing ongoing transformation, the game of innovation. When you can wrap your head around this mindset, you will blow the competition away.
Challenge: Make the decision to be innovative. What would that look like in your sport? How would that free up your creative energy to try something new? List all the fearful thoughts preventing you from taking risks, possibly failing. How does it feel to do something if you’re unsure of the outcome? Close your eyes and see yourself taking action despite the fear. How was that? Now close your eyes again and see yourself taking that same action with no fear. How was that different? My challenge for you is seeing yourself taking action with no fear over and over again in your mind’s eye until you believe it is possible.