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Managing failure

“Baseball is all about dealing with failure well. Even the best batters are getting a hit one out of three at bats. It’s a mind game to keep going at the edge of failure.”
~My Father-in-law

If you are taking on a big project you’re likely on the edge of failure all the time. Do you wake up in the middle of the night running through failure scenarios in your head? Are you hedging your bets by putting the project on the back burner? Are you complaining about the project?

These are all ways that we deal with failure unproductively.

The tension is good

A major league baseball player steps up to the plate with a keen understanding that it’s most likely that he will not get on base. Yet at the same time he knows that he’s practiced and played for over 15 years, he’s made it through the farm league, and he has the ability to hit almost any pitch.

He isn’t scared of failure—he uses it to focus his ability.

Like this ball player the tension between probable failure and desired success should drive you to focus.
When confronted with fear of failure are you making any of these mistakes?

  • Slowing down to a crawl because you’re terrified of making mistakes.
  • Speeding the project up and making reckless decisions.
  • Losing hope that you can achieve a desired result so you scale back the scope of the project?
  • Try to pocket veto the project by stopping working on it and just hope that no one notices.
  • Taking on another project to hedge your bets incase the first one fails.

If you find yourself at this point I highly recommend you take a couple hours and go buy the book “The Dip” by Seth Godin. His advice is priceless when you hit a rough patch in a project.

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