In the pursuit of great leadership one thing continues to come up: overcoming defeat or mistakes is all part of the journey. Mickey Arthur describes this process as your ‘bounce-back ability’ and argues it is one of the defining factors of great athletes and leaders.
Having started my own business at the young age of 26, my journey to success has had its ups and downs. The truth is, I don’t know of any successful CEO that has made it to the top without stumbling along the way – in fact the reason why those failures tend to define the sweet success is because they are pivotal to our development as people and leaders.
Once you overcome the harsh reality of defeat, how can you use the experience to your advantage? Here are my 3 reasons for embracing the journey and seeing the silver lining in those hard times.
1. It builds character. Having the capacity to see light at the end of the tunnel and place value in the pain of defeat as a vessel for learning about yourself and your business will always be more valuable to your lasting success than not having failed at all. There’s a famous quote from Khalil Gibran that couldn’t be more apt:Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
2. It reminds us to be humble. Nobody wants to do business or be led by someone who thinks they are infallible. It is annoying and it is not real. Everyone, at some stage, experiences defeat. Understanding that there is a difference between failing and being a failure is an important step in the journey. This understanding will not only help you to self-reflect and remain humble, it will also help you to move forward from less than perfect situations without being defensive and missing the opportunity to learn and improve.
3. It puts a fire in your belly. There’s nothing like the scent of defeat to get you motivated. Does everything happen for a reason? I think it does. Find ways to use the powerful emotions that come with defeat to fire up and refocus on what you do well and what you have learned. Come out swinging and ready to post the next run on the board.
What do you think, can you train yourself to bounce back from hardship?
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