Here are two writings that have really helped me in the past week with failure and how to keep everything in perspective. The first is from a wonderful pastor in Charlotte, NC. Pastor Steven Furtick is the lead pastor at Elevation Church and is seeing rapid growth in the church as well as in the city.
It Wasn't a Failure
This second writing is from Coach Jim Tressel, the head football coach at The Ohio State University. He has become a man I highly admire not only as a great coach (Go Bucks!) but also a great human being. This excerpt is from his book The Winner's Manual, a book that he gives all of his football players during spring practice, and is very insightful for all walks of life.
"Each year, I get a lot of cards and letters from people who write me long, heartfelt messages: 'Coach, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am about the loss..You must be devastated".....I read those letters, and I appreciate the sentiment. I know the people who wrote them care.....but I have to say that I have never had a loss as a head coach that devastated me....Flip [that] around. When we win a big game, I get letters and emails and notes about being at the pinnacle of the sport and about how my career has great meaning and blah, blah, blah. Yes, winning the big one is great. It's a wonderful feeling to see the confetti coming down.....But honestly, I don't feel any different about myself during the presentation of the trophy than I did before the game.
"It can be difficult to keep that perspective, however, because the sportswriters and interviewers focus simply on whether you won or lost. You're either a good guy or a bad guy. To me, that's what persistence is about. Persistence takes the focus away from the performance and puts it on the process.....The bad things that happened didn't make you a failure. Those were simply EVENTS, not reflections on you as a person.
"After a loss or a disappointing performance, go back to the problem, analyze it, ask what you can learn from it, figure out how to do it right and how you are going to visualize doing it right the next time. Remember, the fact that you didn't achieve the desired outcome doesn't mean YOU are a failure. It simply means that the plan you had in place didn't work, so you have to get better. If you don't improve, you may no longer be employed--but that doesn't make you a failure either. Everything that happens--good and bad--should motivate you to be PERSISTENT. When things don't go your way, back up and start over. Learn what you can do to improve, and get back in the game."
Thanks for reading!