Did you watch the NBA play-offs? Even if you are not a basketball fan, like me, you know that the Cleveland Cavaliers won. If you didn’t know – and are reading this post–you know now. LeBron James and his teammates proved that it’s not how you start out, but it’s where you finish. The result? The biggest comeback in NBA Finals history to knock off the Golden State Warriors and deliver Cleveland its first professional sports title in 52 years.
Fifty-two years? Wow! It took over a half of a century to earn an NBA title. What in the world was going on with the team for the past 51 years? The answer: Failure. I read the story. There were a lot of great times and a lot of failures. They were some great coaches and not so great coaches. But in the end, all of those years of losing the NBA title and tasting the bitter taste of failure finally led them to the sweet taste of success.
In many ways, many of our stories are like the Cleveland Cavaliers. We work really hard to do the things that society tells us we should do. We think we have the right team in place and we are confident in our ow abilities and our decisions. That combination alone makes us sometimes feel like failure is not option. We have our own playbook for our professional lives. And just like NBA coaches, when things don’t work, we reevaluate. We draft new members, expand our team, hire and fire new personnel, trade-in our old tactics for new ones and sometimes we still never get our happy ending.
Let me be clear. I am not a sports fan. So this is not an endorsement for LeBron James. But, I do admire his playbook and I think we can all take a page from it. No matter what people think of LeBron, he thinks more of himself. No matter how many cynics there are out there that tell him he can’t, he believes that he can. The difference between a winner and loser is that no matter how many times a person loses; he never gives up until he wins. A loser will always be a winner as long as they never take on a defeatist attitude. A winner will eventually lose when they forget that winning does not come easy and they become passé about the work that it took to become a winner in the first place.
If we pause and think about all of the basketball greats, every last one of them has experienced failure. One quote in particular is one that I really admire by Michael Jordan: I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
So, the next time you deem yourself a failure, remember that no one becomes successful without it. So fail away! Your success is probably closer than you think! Let’s just hope it doesn’t take 52 years!