Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
OK, it’s just one week into the New Year and my wildly optimistic 2015 resolutions have already gone by the boards. Better luck next year; maybe I can lose those 10 pounds if I start a diet on Jan. 1, 2016.
I’ve sadly discovered over the years that there’s an inherent problem in making New Year’s resolutions: Before you can resolve to do or not do something on Jan. 1, you have to admit that you have failed at doing or not doing it by Dec. 31.
A resolution to lose 10 pounds means that you have to acknowledge you either gained 10 pounds you didn’t want to gain or have been unable to lose 10 pounds you wanted to shed. A resolution to make five sales calls every morning means that you have not made them yet even though you really wanted to and knew that you should.
And admitting your failures, while it may be good for your soul, is not very good for your confidence. It’s almost like hearing a “Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!” voice in your head: Don’t even think about making resolutions when you know you can’t keep them.
Reflecting on our failure in the past can sometimes lead us to subconsciously sabotage our efforts to succeed in the future and put us on the “why bother” path: Why bother to try losing weight when I know I’ll succumb to the first cronut that appears in the office kitchen? Why believe I could ever hope to make five sales calls each day when I’ve always thrown in the towel after the first rejection?
Why? Because you really don’t know―absolutely, positively, 100% know―that you will fail again. There’s always a glimmer, even though it may be very small and very faint, that this time you might succeed if you just tried a little harder, took a slightly different approach, or maybe even asked for some help.
Being willing to try again is what ultimately turns failure into success. Every time a record is broken it’s because someone believed they could do what no one, including themselves, had been able to do before. Every time a new client is won, a new specialty mastered, a new company acquired, a new building built it’s because someone believed they could do it although it was a little scary to try.
There may be danger in trying to do something we haven’t been able to do before―from financial risk to embarrassment―but there’s even greater danger in not trying to succeed where we failed before. Maybe we can lessen the danger by being a little less ambitious, but more determined. Can’t make five sales calls? Set out to make one new sales call each morning.
Forget Jan. 1. No matter what the calendar says, let today be the day you resolve to take the one small step that will move your business forward. And excuse me while I start my own new list: Resolved―to lose five pounds this year by at least skipping the first cronut that comes my way.