Monthly Archives: June 2020

Some against the grain advice: If you’re determined to win, then don’t be scared to fail

I’ve coached my sons on the baseball field for the past 9 years so it was really strange not to be out there this Spring. It’s often said that baseball is a game where hitters can be in the Hall of Fame if they can only limit their failures to 60-70% for 20 years. It’s true that the highest batting average in Major League Baseball is Ty Cobb’s .366 – meaning he failed 634 out of every 1000 times he went to the plate!

Ty Cobb (left) with ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson

Failure isn’t limited to baseball….basketball greats are acquainted with it as well.

I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

Michael Jordan

Marty Osborn made the same observation about football: “In a football game a team will run about 60-70 plays. Of those plays, 90% fail. That’s right. Only 10% of plays will really work. It’s those 6 or 7 plays that will be the difference between winning and losing.”

If we take a step into the world of organizations, it’s clear that there are lots of things we do every day that don’t work:

  • That meeting that did NOT go as planned
  • A project you poured weeks into doesn’t get approved
  • The sales lead you thought was ready to sign the contract goes another direction
  • And many more!

So, what do you do with all that failure? I’d propose you embrace it!

Success has been defined as the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.

Anonymous – referenced in How to Say a Few Words by David Guy Powers
(not Winston Churchill as I thought!)

The next time you strike out and are disappointed by what was a sure thing, pick yourself up and try again…with enthusiasm!

Who knows, the next time you’re at the plate, you may hit a home run…

Photo Credit: Louis van Oeyen, photographer. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (058.00.00)