I recently heard someone on a podcast say part of why he thinks his children have grown up to be good young adults included ingraining in them the idea of “doing the right thing, even if it sucks.” Many times doing the right this is easy (and some people still choose doing the wrong thing). Other times it’s hard.
An example of the way this comes into my world is when a calendaring or similar mistake is made and may negatively affect the client. I haven’t had this happen in a long time, but when it has happened it may have been my error, or an error by another attorney on my team, or my assistant. In those situations I have the opportunity to lay or take the blame. Human nature is to blame others, but it’s wrong. In these situations, I am the outward facing client contact and leading the team. I always take the blame even if I know it was someone else’s fault. My clients look to me so to do otherwise would look like passing the buck, and likely have a negative effect on that attorney client relationship.
After hearing the gentleman on the podcast say “do the right thing, even if it sucks,” I thought about how to impart this pearl of wisdom to my children. The opportunity to do so was right in front of me. My youngest had summer homework to finish before school started a few weeks later. My wife and I even had him make a to do list for the coming days so he could finish it all with time to spare. So imagine my (non-existent) surprise when I found him playing video games or streaming shows on Netflix every morning. In that case the doing right is for him is to do his homework before the activities he finds fun, which can be hours long blackholes. And, like all of us growing up, he thinks homework sucks.
The point is this saying applies to issues large and small. As you go through your day, see how many times it fits a given situation. I have discovered it works at home, at the office, and otherwise. Plus, doing the right thing is something good to be known for, even more so when not doing so is easy, and no one else will know. But you will know and that would suck.
Dreams are great. They can sustain us through hard times or hard work. They can lift us up and let us down. We can learn from them no matter whether they are realized.
Have you followed any dreams in your life? Most dreams die. When this happens to you, what is your reaction? Does it drag you down or paralyze you? If so, you need to rethink how to look at failure; you just need to find another dream.
I know I’m making it sound so easy. For you it may or may not be. But if you don’t try you won’t like where you find yourself. Many times it’s not giving up on the dream, but tweaking it because of what you’ve learned and what negative things have happened. It’s like the story of most successful entrepreneurs, many of who suffered through many failures before the dream that made it big.
Clichés are clichés for a reason; they’re true. In this case the appropriate cliché is “you learn more from failure than success.” I think this is true for many reasons. This includes people generally investigate, dwell on, and think through failure more than success. Even though continued success can be dependent on thinking through success and how to maintain or tweak it, people tend to do less of this.
Always analyze your successes and failures. It will help you keep the dream going, retool the dream, or change to a new course, all of which are good paths to be on.
We all make mistakes. Regularly. Do you think about what happened and try to learn from them, or do you beat yourself up? Or does it depend on the mistake and what and who it affected? Next time you make a mistake, take a step back and think how you prevent such a mistake from happening again.
The cycle of beating yourself up does no good. It wastes time, which is a precious commodity. It also can be a vicious cycle dragging you down and affecting all aspects of your professional and personal lives. This will compound your issues and likely result in more mistakes being made. If you beat yourself up and continue thought processes of how dumb your were, etc., it will be a self-fulfilling prophecy. And others will view you from a similar lens, which only will further bring you down.
Instead, get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the game. This doesn’t mean to simply move forward and ignore what happened. It means to think about in an effort to not have something similar happen again, but not to dwell on it and drag down your own self-image. Always take responsibility for your mistakes, but do so constructively and with an eye for moving forward.
Learn from your mistakes, but don’t define yourself by them, or others will too.