While achievement of success defines the purpose of all our actions, sometimes things don’t work out as expected in the time lines we had determined. Look, in the end, in the long run, everything eventually works out. But, because it didn’t meet the deadline, we perceive it as failure.
The aspirations, the strategy, the actions all may be aligned but if you must lose despite it all, then, lose on your own terms. What does that mean? Simple, you define what losing means to you.
1. Determined efforts, delayed results: Let’s say, you worked really hard and put in day and night of focused effort, and the results didn’t appear as expected at the end of the timeline, does that mean you failed? Well, let’s take a different, more holistic viewpoint. It means that everything has been done as it needed to be done, the results will come, but its taking more time than expected due to circumstances not in you control. And so, you move on as you wait for it. In getting dejected, you will not only feel like a failure and will not be able to appreciate the results when they do come.
2. Best efforts, betrayed results: I bet you can remember a few instances where you invested your heart and soul, and put your life on hold to give your very best for a project. Despite the heart and soul you put into the job, other people led it to disaster with their non-commitment or carelessness. End result? Far from what you expected. You can beat yourself up and bring doom on your spirit and confidence, or you can look at the entire episode with objectivity. You were right and you were a success if you dissect the case. Celebrate that. Then, determine the loss and the anatomy of that caused by others and make your plan of action for better control the next time around.
3. Hard work, hollow strategies: It could well be that you spent days and months and worked the hardest you ever have, and didn’t get where you wanted to reach, because the strategy proved to be incorrect. You didn’t know better. You found out at the end of the game. Does that mean you are a failure? You because wiser, smarter and better equipped to handle similar challenges.
‘I am failure’, ‘it was all useless’, ‘I wasted my time, my life’. The berating by the way, increases in proportion to the dejection and the professional implications it bears. Here is the thing about losses and the severe meanings we give to it—it breaks our confidence, it instills negativity and it steals our morale. The comeback from this lowered emotional state is tough and a lot of time, energy and good work is wasted in that handling.
What is your yardstick for failure and losing? What does it mean to really lose? Define it. For me, if I have given my best shot in all honesty, if I have done the work to the best of my ability, if I have kept my focus unshakeable and did not quit despite personal experience, then the real victory and success is in my daily living. The financial year may be nearing its end, but I have not folded my cards, my time is still on, my game is still in progress, I have not called it quits, just yet.
So, I continue the work despite delays. While I wait for the results, I keep the good work going. While I wait, I work on the team to deliver better or I look for a better team to work with, but I don’t throw in the towel on the project. If the strategy has been off, I will rework the strategy and redo the job to bring it to fruition as expected. It is my game and until I get to the finish, it is not over. And when I finish, I will deliver more than what was expected, and next time around, do it better and faster.
Don’t let others define what success and failure should mean to you. Yes, timelines are one measure, but not the only one. Don’t let others convince you of losing and failing while you are still on the path to success.
I am rooting for your success.