You have heard the old saying that “Success breeds success.” Well, that may be true to a point. I know that when we experience success in something, it energizes us and gives us confidence to succeed again. However, sometimes we do all the right things and we still fail.
I can recall times in my sales career where I did everything I could to make a sale, and the things that worked for me yesterday, last week, or even last year are not working now. I can’t explain it, but sometimes you can do everything right and still fail.
Here are some reasons I have identified why success sometimes fails:
We might be trying to do something that no longer has significant relevance to the recipient. If it is not a priority to them, cut your losses and move on. Don’t waste time with people who are unwilling or unable to make a decision.
We may have misjudged the intent of the recipient to begin with. Perhaps they were just being polite and don’t like saying “No.”
It could just be a timing issue. Sometimes people really do have to wait to make a decision and are not just blowing you off.
We could be too focused on what we want, and not what the recipient wants. People always seem to sense when someone is desperate for a decision or a sale.
If ALL…and I mean ALL of the decision makers are not there, don’t waste your time. I can’t tell you how many times someone has told me I was just meeting with them, and not to worry because they had the authority to make the decision…and then when it gets to decision time, they say, “I have to run this past Bob, or Martha, or whomever.” That can drive a preacher to drink!
If we are unwilling to change and insist on doing things the way we have always done them, we are subject to more than failure…we are subject to becoming obsolete. Montgomery Wards, Kmart, Gibsons, Mervyns, Blockbuster, Circuit City, just to name a few…have all become obsolete. Kmart is still hanging on by a thread in parts of the country, but they are no longer a serious contender in the retail space. JC Penny is next to fall unless they do some serious revamping. Kodak was once the name in photography. No longer. They refused to go digital and have nearly collapsed as a result. They will have a hard time ever regaining the glory days.
Success is something we each would probably define differently. For me, success means having a balanced spiritual life, family life, work life, and social life. It means doing something on a daily basis that has significance and being remembered as a man who loved God 1st and foremost, and loved his neighbor as himself. I work hard, play hard, and know that when I give of myself to God and others…I always receive much more in return. I don’t give to get…I just know that it happens. That gives me contentment, satisfaction, purpose, and Shalom! Have you ever experienced anything like this in your life?
I was speaking with a friend of mine who used to play for the Dallas Cowboys. We were discussing the game Sunday, which was a great victory over Seattle, last year’s Superbowl Champs.
What really frosted him were comments by different people that Tony Romo and Demarco Murray were primarily responsible for the win. His point was that without the offensive line, neither one would be performing well. That is very true. And, to take it a step further…what about the kicker Dan Bailey? They would not have won without his efforts. He is an amazingly accurate kicker. In fact, every player was critical to the win.
It came to me as we were discussing the game that any team, whether it is an athletic team or an organizational team is dependent on EVERYONE doing their part. The strength of a team will always be limited by its weakest link, and every team has at least one.
Here are some of the lessons I have learned from football:
It is never about one player on a team. It is about a concerted effort to win.
It does not matter what the score is at half time. Until the final tick of the clock, the game is not over. Never throw in the towel as long as you can physically perform.
How well you did last year does not guarantee that you will repeat that level of performance this year. It is a constant moving target because of personnel changes, and in the world of football especially, how healthy everyone is.
Show respect to your competition. Disrespecting them only fuels their desire to make an example of you.
Identify your weak link(s) and help them get on track. Replace them if necessary, but do everything possible to help them succeed first. There was a reason you put them on your team to begin with, right? Find their strengths and help them take those abilities to the next level. Coach them, mentor them, encourage them, and push them to succeed. The only players that can’t be salvaged are those who refuse to be helped. You will know pretty quickly who they are if they can’t admit their mistakes or they won’t accept your help.
Jason Garrett has been cussed and discussed ever since he took over the reins as the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. I am grateful that he did not get fired for his performance over the past few seasons, but he was given time to put the pieces together to make a great team. Great teams don’t happen overnight. It takes time, the right personnel, and a concerted effort to excellence. It sounds simple, and it is…yet it is complex to achieve.
It still remains to be seen whether this is the year for the Cowboys to go all the way or not, but whatever happens I am encouraged by the progress I see at all levels. So….what lessons have YOU learned from football?
You may be thinking to yourself, “Why do people NEED to be transparent?” Fair enough. Good question. People need to be transparent to be real. I am not talking about people who have diarrhea of the mouth and feel the need to tell you everything that has ever happened to them. I am talking about being honest with yourself and with others about who you really are.
Transparency is critical to having healthy relationships. It is critical to building trust. Seriously, can you trust someone who never admits a fault? Probably not! But then it begs the question, “Why can’t people be transparent with one another?”
I think there are a number of factors here:
Fear that people will think less of them
Fear that they will lose control
Fear that they might be rejected
Fear that they will have to tell something that is very painful to re-live
Fear that they might offend others
It does not take a rocket scientist to see the common thread. Fear is real and keeps people from being real with one another. What is the cost of letting fear hold you back from being transparent?
You will have a hard time being truly intimate in relationships
People will suspect you are hiding something and therefore not trust you
Lack of transparency will cost you in relationships, both personal and business
You will never discover the true magic of just being yourself
You will not get to benefit from the strength that comes from being vulnerable
Trying to hide who you really are is very stressful, and stress can kill you
You rob the world of knowing your heart….who you really are
We need real people….real husbands and wives….real leaders. If we insist on wearing masks and posing then we are only fooling ourselves. We can hide our emotions, but it will take a toll on everything and everyone we touch. It is a very lonely road to walk for those who refuse to be real.
We can never fully live until we accept who we are, and then be willing to share that with the world. If you don’t like who you are, that is not fatal. You can change the things you don’t like. If you need help, seek professional help to come to grips with who you are. We all have warts….just admit the ones you have. You will come to realize that the problems you face are not so unique.