22 November 2015

You miss 100% of the shots you never take

You miss 100% of the shots you never take

I was trying to do a property deal last week and it fell through. I spoke with the owner of the property and he said “I appreciate this is hard, you look like a guy who is used to winning.”

“I replied, I am used to losing far more than I win I can assure you. For every success there are always numerous failures!”

It reminded me of the great quotation from Wayne Gretzky;

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

There is no doubt that practice makes perfect. There is another saying I agree with, “To become an expert at something you have to invest 10,000 hours.”

It’s a great analogy and it reminds me that every expert once started as a pupil.

Some people find it much easier to give up on something than to persevere, but success is all about that lonely place where you knuckle down and spend time practicing.

If you have learnt an instrument you will know what I mean. There are hours of sacrifice when your friends are doing fun stuff that you have to forgo because you have committed to rehearsing.

It takes years for the hard work to pay off and many people find other things to do instead and it’s only the fully committed ones that get there in the end.

I believe the best way to prepare for the outside world is doing sport. Team sport especially teaches you so much about so many different things in life. Success, failure, preparation, commitment, effort, passion. All ingredients that will serve you well in the future when things get tough.

Laura Massaro on her journey to the World's greatest some squash player

Laura Massaro on her journey to the World’s greatest some squash player

They are all the traits necessary to turn yourself into a winner.

By learning on your feet with a ball in hand, you have no time to stop and ponder. You have to make snap decisions and whether right or wrong, you have to live with them.

In sport you learn fast. You have other people relying on you and it amplifies a sense of achievement when you do do well. It also magnifies the terrible feelings when things don’t go to plan. These are necessary lessons you need to learn for later in life.

Whoever said remove competition from schools some years back did enormous damage to the future of Britain.

So if you are starting out or if you are trying to grow your business or become a better manager or leader, don’t worry too much about making mistakes and also don’t be too hard on others for making mistakes too.

We all make them and the bigger the entrepreneur or sports person, the bigger the number of clangers they will have dropped. But every now and then a piece of magic happens and it lifts you to another level. These are the moments why we work hard and commit our time and energy to a specific cause. When things go well, there is nothing more rewarding than picking up a trophy or seeing someone smile knowing how hard everyone worked in the process.

What I will say, is that when things do go wrong, try and limit the down side. Don’t invest everything into something that could as easily break you as it could make you a success. Always hold something back in the tank for a rainy day, or the second half! It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

When you do make mistakes and you will, learn from them. Never make the same mistakes twice, if you can help it!

I love Einsteins quote, the definition of madness is doing, “the same things over and over again expecting a different result.”

I’d temper that with a slightly different viewpoint, by practicing over and over again, you will eventually improve. But hopefully you won’t be doing it exactly the same every time, you will be modifying what you do in your search for the perfect formula.

I do it with everything I do. From my diet, my sport, my itinerary, my personal time with my family. Once I have a winning formula I stick to is like glue. It becomes part of the fabric of how I live my life. In the same way a professional athlete will have a routine in the way they prepare for a race, I treat my life in exactly the same way.

Why vary something when you know it works!

There is enough variety in business to keep you excited and engaged. Just make sure you are thinking on your feet at all times.

So when you are looking at the amazing achievements of any of our greatest entrepreneurs, don’t put them on a pedestal. Yes they deserve a huge amount of credit for what they achieve, but remember, they are mere mortals like you and I and their successes are few and far between in comparison to their number of failures the will have made on their journey to the top.

The great entrepreneurs I am lucky to have met all are still learning too. They know there are always areas where they can improve. No one is the finished article, if you think you are, you might be about to make another one of those catastrophic mistakes!

The difference between highly successful person and a not so successful one is usually determined by their ability to get up and have another go. Highly successful people, athletes, entrepreneurs, musicians do not fear failure. It’s a necessary evil and one you have to embrace.

If everything goes to plan you will find yourself out of depth. Thus is where your journey begins.

If everything goes to plan you will find yourself out of depth. Thus is where your journey begins.

So no matter how many times you fail, what are you going to do about it?

Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and have another go.

Repeat this process until you reach the summit.

Once at the summit, reset your goals immediately and give yourself a new target to aim at.

And when you fail again?

Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and have another go.

Repeat this process for a minimum of 100 years and you will have a fascinating life.

Have you got what it takes?

Somehow if you are reading this I think you do! See you at the top and enjoy the climb!

Best LJ

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