“I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
We all want to be better than we were yesterday. Sometimes the path to success is free from roadblocks, causing us to move along in leaps and bounds. At other times we stand still for a while. Sometimes we even take a step backwards. Minor setbacks are inevitable on our journey towards reaching our true potential. But one thing is certain, we can always strive to do better, and use challenges to help us build resilience.
The path to your dream position, whatever it may be, will not always be smooth sailing. Perhaps you already have your dream job as a senior manager or executive, or maybe you still have a way to go. It is important to remember that even the greatest business people have dealt with setbacks and failures, before going on to achieve amazing things later in their careers. Read ahead to find out more about overcoming obstacles as a manager and how you can build your resilience.
Take Bill Gates for example. The richest man in the world did not have an easy start in business. His first company, Traf-O-Data failed miserably. However, Gates learned from the experience and went on to start Microsoft – as we all know, the rest is history.
Richard Branson is another example of how perseverance and resilience can get you to your end goal. Branson overcame early struggles with dyslexia and poor grades to become one of the most innovative and successful entrepreneurs of our time. However, even his successes later in life have been peppered with setbacks. He has launched more than 400 companies under the Virgin brand, and needless to say, not all of them have taken flight the way Virgin Airlines did. In 1994 he launched Virgin Cola, which struggled to gain footing in the soft drink market. Branson was pragmatic in the wake of the venture’s failure, maintaining a sense of humour and learning from the experience.
It is hard to imagine a world without Stephen King novels. Incredibly, this was nearly the case, after the world renowned writer had his first novel Carrie rejected 30 times. This would be enough to make anyone reconsider their talents and give up in the face of rejection – but he persevered and has now had dozens of his novels published to great accolade.
Furthermore, the great inventor Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb overnight. He faced many roadblocks and countless failed designs before he was able to create the world’s first working light bulb.
Before Harry Potter became a household name and arguably the most loved children’s book of all time, J.K. Rowling was a struggling writer, just trying to make ends meet. Furthermore, she faced initial setbacks in finding a publisher for her novel. Incredibly her manuscript was rejected 12 times before she was able to secure a publishing deal.
Milton Hershey is another success story. Hershey could have easily given up after his first candy company failed. But rather than bow out he tried again – only to meet with even more failure. Once more he picked himself up, but his third company also failed to get off the ground. For many this would have been the point at which they gave up and tried their hand at something else. However, incredibly he tried again, this time founding Hershey’s, which has gone on to become an American icon.
Henry Ford once said: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” And he should know. His early attempts at producing cars were less than successful.
What did these people all have in common? The answer is resilience. In some cases they failed over and over again before they finally met with success. While it may seem they were simply born with an inherent resilience – and maybe there is some truth in that, there are also steps you can take to build and enhance your ability to bounce back from setbacks and failures:
- Sleep – Getting 7-8 hours sleep each night, exercising for at least 30 minutes per day and learning tools like meditation to keep you stress in check will put you in a position to deal with challenges that arise.
- Relationships – Strong connections with your colleagues increase your resilience at work and your level of happiness in your position. The same applies to your personal relationships. Having a strong support network of friends leads to a higher level of resilience. When things go wrong you have people around you who you can trust and rely on to offer advice and support and encourage you to try again.
- Perspective – Keep your focus on the big picture. Sure you might have faced a setback today, but tomorrow is a new day, bringing with it a completely new set of opportunities. Think long-term and avoid blowing things out of proportion.
- Learning – When something goes wrong it is important to take the lesson and move forward. Learn from your mistake and change your behaviour or approach in the future. The important thing is to not give up.
When we see a highly successful person in the media, it can appear on first inspection as though they have always been in their position. What we do not see is the years of hard work, and in many cases, catastrophic failures, which they have overcome to reach success. Some of the world’s most successful business leaders overcame great obstacles and hardships on their path to glory. Next time you feel like you are not progressing at the rate you would like in your climb up the career ladder, or you make a mistake that seems like a huge setback, look to these great leaders for inspiration and remember – persistence pays.