By Gini Dietrich
A few weeks ago, I included a video in Gin and Topics of a three-year-old gymnast prodigy.
Not withstanding whether or not this little girl will be well-adjusted seven years from now, I really loved the conversation she had with Ellen.
Ellen: “Do you get scared of ever falling, Emma?”
Emma: “No, cause I will get back up.”
Ellen: “That is a wonderful thing to say.”
But think about that for a minute.
A three-year-old doesn’t think twice about failing because she knows she can just get back up and try again.
But us adults?
Man, oh man!
We have a serious fear of failure when, in fact, we should have the same attitude as little Emma.
She may very well become the greatest athlete that ever roamed the earth and it’s because, at the age of three, she isn’t scared to achieve greatness.
Five Ways to Achieve Greatness
How do we achieve greatness when we are all well beyond the age of three?
And not just achieve it, but create the attitude and habits to be able to get there?
As it turns out, old dogs can learn new tricks and, learning how to fail is only one way to achieve greatness.
- Learn to fail so you can succeed. It’s okay. I give you permission. Fail. Fail many times. Fail until you want to scream your lungs out. And then get up, dust yourself off, write down (yes, physically write down) what you learned, and try again. You see this in start-ups all the time. Their first idea didn’t work so they pivot. Heck, we pivoted with Spin Sucks Pro until we found something that worked. Failure is good. It’s hard. It’s heart wrenching. But it’s good.
- Work long hours. Particularly when you start a business, you are excited at the prospect of not having a boss and setting your own hours. Wrong! If you want to grow a business for the purpose of legacy or to sell it later, you will put everything you have into it. You will work extraordinarily long hours and, as it turns out, your boss will be your customers, your employees, and your vendor partners. Eventually you’ll get to the point that you don’t have to work 100 hour weeks anymore—if you want—but it takes a while to achieve greatness there.
- Develop your talent. I am always shocked by people who are late 30s and older and extremely set in their ways. They always say they don’t have time to read or take online courses or develop themselves professionally. To achieve greatness, you have to develop your talent. Do you think Steph Curry goes out and plays basketball every game without having practiced every minute of every day until then? You have to hone your craft every, single day. Make the time. Make it a priority. Even if you are an expert with more than 20 years of experience, there is always something more you can learn.
- Never be satisfied. Think of all of the people who you perceive to have achieved greatness. I’m willing to bet they all have one thing in common: They are never satisfied. Not in the grumpy, “I can’t do anything right” kind of way. Rather, they have the attitude that they know they can, and want to, do better.
- Don’t plan for Plan B. I’m reminding of a story a great chef once told about how his parents pretty much said they were to leave the house at 18 and figure it out on their own. Until then, they’d give them the tools to make it out in the real world, but it was up to them after 18 years. Then he said, “But today’s parents don’t do that, do they? They tell their kids they can come back if it doesn’t work out and that’s why you have so many college graduated kids living at home without jobs.” If you plan for Plan B, not only will you get there, you’ll never achieve greatness for yourself. As I mentioned in the first tip, you may very well pivot, but at least you’ll always be on Plan A.
And, of course, if you fall, have the attitude of little Emma and know it’s no big deal because you can get right back up and try again.