If At First You Don’t Succeed… Surprise. Part II

Leadership

Okay, so what’s the big surprise?

Everyone knows the saying; in fact, we all likely had it memorized by the First Grade,
“If at first you don’t succeed… try, try again.”

It’s bold… it’s inspiring… a real Call-To-Action, bringing back memories of Churchill’s famous “Never, never, never give up…” speech.

But here’s a question or three… Is it true?
Is it good advice… is it valid?

It’s amazing how these wise sayings, these cliches and words-to-live-by so often go unchallenged. We know them, we’ve got them down… and to question them seems almost irreverent!

It would be like challenging a statement like, “Cleanliness is next to… “
Why of course, Godliness! Who can challenge the Wisdom of that?

Well, it may or may not surprise you that I don’t really believe that cleanliness IS next to Godliness… I actually believe a condition like Brokenness is MUCH closer to Godliness than is cleanliness, but that wouldn’t have gotten me to make my bed before school in the morning… but I digress.

“So back to the topic at hand,” you say…
“If at first we don’t succeed, shouldn’t we keep plugging away,” you ask…
“Didn’t Edison try to invent the light bulb TEN THOUSAND TIMES,” you yell!!!

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Okay, now I’ve got a question… why are you yelling?

And yes, we’ll get to Thomas Edison tomorrow… but right now I want you to meet Dave. David Kay, my broadcast radio coach. When I asked Dave to mentor me, I had only one real concern… please don’t “YES” me.

I have a zillion (slight exaggeration) people who “yes” me regularly… nice, wonderful and kind people… but I seldom take counsel from any of them. And when I’m looking for a coach (of which I have a number), the first time they tell me whatever they think I want to hear may very well be the last time I ask them for advice!

Dave shoots straight… and when I need it, he throws it right at the bulls-eye. Here it is… boom. This is what that sounded like… boom. Address the audience singularly… and quit filling in the empty space with umms or ahhs.

Simple… straight-forward… honest. Thank you, friend.

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I told you yesterday of a coach who thought it was his job to encourage his coachees (for lack of better word, sorry) to “just keep doin’ what they’re doin'”, even when the results weren’t there… even when the goals were no longer in sight, even when they had lost their confidence and lost their way.

Now here’s the thing.

“Just keep doin’ what your doin'”, and “try, try again” are okay when the plan is good, but when the game changes… when life changes… the plan had darn-well better change too!

And to just keep plugging away and making unnecessary mistakes, working at tasks and activities that don’t lead to the desired outcome, or using tactics and strategies that have come and gone is like taking a wrong turn on a trip and then stubbornly pressing ahead anyway! In that case, working harder… driving faster… won’t get you to your destination!

A good coach is there to say, “STOP IT… JUST STOP… PLEASE STOP ALREADY!!!” Yes, if at first you don’t succeed, it may be time to just stop… it may be time to evaluate WHY we’re not succeeding, and then create an entirely new plan… heck, it may be time to quit playing that particular game altogether!

“Oh, no… not quit! We NEVER quit!”
“Don’t you know that winners NEVER QUIT, and quitters NEVER WIN??!!!”
“After all, WHAT WOULD EDISON SAY??!!!”

Gosh, there you go yelling again… we’ll look at these next time.

 

Photo Credit:

Nicholas T

2 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed… Surprise. Part II

  1. “Just keep doin’ what your doin’”, and “try, try again” are okay when the plan is good, but when the game changes… when life changes… the plan had darn-well better change too!

    And to just keep plugging away and making unnecessary mistakes, working at tasks and activities that don’t lead to the desired outcome, or using tactics and strategies that have come and gone is like taking a wrong turn on a trip and then stubbornly pressing ahead anyway! In that case, working harder… driving faster… won’t get you to your destination!

    Uh, ysh. What you said. :)

  2. Hey Laurie, can’t wait to see Linda doing her Madam Cloe impersonation… personally I prefer Fortune Cookies to Crystal Balls but that may just be sugar cravings!! – Steve

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