Owning Your Failures

No one likes to fail. It’s a result we are trained to avoid. It feels like we are tested all the time from an early age and someone, it seems, is there scoring our results.

Seth Godin, marketing guru, wrote in his blog recently:

"You’re Right, We Were Wrong"

by Seth Godin

This is the most difficult sentence for companies that stumble in doing effective customer service.

By effective, I mean customer service that pays for itself, that is a rational expense on the way to building a loyal brand following and generating positive word of mouth.

When someone in your organization says, "You’re right, we were wrong," they’re not saying that you’re always wrong, or that you were completely wrong, or even that, in a court of law with a sympathetic jury, you would lose. It certainly doesn’t mean you didn’t try.

No, all you’re saying is that you made a promise or set an expectation and then failed to live up to it.

Owning that and saying it out loud does two things: it respects the customer and it allows you to make more promises in the future.

If it helps, you can remind yourself that this is investment in your ability to make a promise tomorrow.

This reminded me of a meeting I was in recently at work where I was trying to get a project completed in a short time-frame. I confidently suggest we could complete the project in a month. After some input from the attendees I sat and thought to myself, "you know, they are right, there’s too much red tape to get through and too many people to get buyoff from." I spoke up and said "I’ve thought about this and your right, I’m wrong. It’s not going to happen as fast as I’d hope." The whole meeting took a different tone from then on. People started to talk about how we could get it done faster than they thought, yet not as fast as I wanted. By owning my failed opinion, it gave people permission to look for solutions because they knew even if they came up with bad suggestion, it would be ok because failure of thought wasn’t going to be belittled.

As I go through what they call the "mid-life crisis" over the past few years, I try to take life’s lessons and find a spiritual connection.

For many people in the world they look at God and fear His judgment. I guess from one perspective we are living a test of life and if we pass the test on to heaven, if we fail, on to hell.

I don’t look at judgment day that way.

By owning my failures I am taking ownership of me. At the end of your life, you can either be remembered for your failures or remembered for your successes. I think by owning your failures you will move beyond them and people will see you for what you did right in this world.

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Who do you believe? Is it ever too late?

There is so much information out there in the world. So many people telling you this, telling you that, saying they have the answers because they’ve researched the questions, found data and come to a conclusion.

The problem is that many questions spawn other questions and data is an enigma that give different answers for different questioners.

The world is full of people who tell you what you can’t do. They tell you you’re too old, not enough experience, not smart enough.

The world is full of people who tell themselves that it, whatever their dream is, can’t be done! They accept as truth that they are too old, they accept that they don’t have the experience needed, they accept that they are not smart enough to achieve their dream.

Who should you believe?

I say this today, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Don’t listen to the naysayers. LISTEN TO YOURSELF!!!

How many examples do you need of people who beat "the odds"? How many testimonials do you need to hear from people who have clinched their fist in the air and said "I will be somebody! I will see my dreams come true!" And then they went out and did what they dreamed!

Here’s one more testimonial if that is what you need. There’s data and statistics that show that It is Never Too Late!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tSCdNmd4BM

Go, now, watch this video and listen to this fellow and then listen to yourself – It is never too late to do what you dream!

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Sometimes we get lost…

in the daily routines of life
in the desire to make something of our lives
doing what we love to do
doing what we loath to do
in times of trouble
in the depths of fear and uncertainty
with joy of what we’ve accomplished
with who we’ve become
with what we can do

Sometimes we forget to step away from ourselves and examine ourselves as we examine a painting on the wall of a fine art gallery. You see, the Father is the painter and each of us are His greatest work.

I believe that when this life is done, we will stand with Him in that great gallery of humanity and gaze upon the paintings of our lives and just stand there awestruck by what He HAS done!

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Is God an Alien?

Once you accept the notion that there is indeed a God, do you ever think about Who is God? Where did he come from? What is his history? How did he come to be?

To be honest, I don’t dwell on those questions, but every now and then I have an interesting conversation with people. Just the other night I got into a discussion about Aliens with a fella and I said "Well, you know there’s no doubt in my mind that Aliens exist!"

The fella I was talking to look dumbfounded and said "really, how’s that?" To which I replied "Well, if you believe in God then by the definition of an alien, GOD IS AN ALIEN."

Is God human? I don’t think so. So, he has to be an Alien, not human.

Judo-Christians believe God made Adam in his image. But God did not father Adam biologically or clone him, else we would be demi-gods. And the last time I checked, I have no God-like powers.

So there you go…

Does it matter if God is an alien? Does it diminish the releationship we have with Him? Does not knowing more about God’s history matter?

It seems that Humans are in constant search mode for understanding of who they are (right now), where they came from, and where they are going.

Since having my daughter six years ago I have come to a realization that I don’t care as much about the future and wanting the future to get here and trying to make my future what I see in my mind’s eye.

I’ve realized that this moment with my wife and little girl is what matters. What we have today is precious. The moments of love, laughter and adventure that we share together is what we take with us into the future and into the great unknown – into tomorrow!

Tomorrow is an ubiquitous egnima that frustrates us all. Sure, we have to work. Sure we have to plan and save for tomorrow. Like the big questions of life, I don’t think it matters what tomorrow will be just as it doesn’t matter that God is an Alien…

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Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow

If you wake up and don’t want to smile,
If it takes just a little while,
Open your eyes and look at the day,
You’ll see things in a different way.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,

Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done,
If your life was bad to you,
Just think what tomorrow will do.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

All I want is to see you smile,
If it takes just a little while,
I know you don’t believe that it’s true,
I never meant any harm to you.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,

Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.

Don’t you look back,
Don’t you look back.

-Christine McVie

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Some Things You Can’t Take Back…

You can say “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings…” but you can’t take back the words you said that created the hurt feelings.

You can “Go to jail, pay a fine and go on probation for getting drunk in public and causing a public disturbance…” but you can’t take back the stupidity of your actions, the hurt and embarrassment to your friends and family it caused.

You can’t recall the bullet from the gun that you just fired into the head of a innocent child as you attempted to burglarize his mom who had nothing to give you.

You can’t erase from your mind the images of a video you just watched that showed the beheading of a human being.

There are some things you can’t take back.

We live in a world that has so many humans who have the capacity to create so much love, beauty, ingenuity and greatness.

Yet, we still have the nightmares that exist in our world – hatred and evil.

The imperfections of humanity weighs on our God I’m sure. As He came to live amongst us and to die for us, I’m sure He weeps for us as we live with all the greatness AND all of the filth.

I don’t know why – why did humanity had to fall from God’s grace? Whatever the reason, we are here, now, striving to shed the imperfections of the flesh so that one day we can once again live in the presence of our maker.

I can’t take back the images of death in my mind and the knowledge of the evil that exist in this world.

BUT, thankfully, I can ask The Savior for a take-back. I can ask Him to take me back into His grace. I can ask Him to come into my heart so I may accept His salvation, to accept His love, to accept His guidance in making me a worthy human being.

Thankfully for me, there is one thing that can be taken back…

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Creating Something Great, Becoming Great

There have been so many human beings who have become legendary, immortal by their deeds. Think of that for a moment.

We all CAN BE a great human being without doing great deeds if only we love each other and treat one another with dignity and respect. But, for a select few, they additionally become legendary and immortal by their deeds.

In my life I try to be a better human being by sharing my love and treating others with dignity and respect.

Bill Gates posted an interesting thought about Thomas Edison, who Bill describes as America’s Greatest Inventor – America’s Greatest Inventor.

What I found appealing about his writing is that Bill Gates, himself a successful business man and philanthropist, feels what pushes humans to greatness is the application of "creativity, perseverance, and optimism."

No matter if you are an inventor, business person, sales person, home-maker or artist – CREATE, PERSEVER and MAINTAIN OPTIMISM!

Good words for a Friday to take you into the weekend.

Herschel

From The Gatesnotes – www.thegatesnotes.com

America’s Greatest Inventor
October 08, 2013
By Bill Gates

I love learning about history, especially the history of innovation. I recently got to write the foreword for Edison and the Rise of Innovation, a new book about one of the great inventors ever. I thought I would share the foreword with you, along with a few photos of some of the Edison-related items I’m lucky enough to own.

Foreword

There’s no question in my mind that one of America’s greatest gifts to the world is our capacity for innovation. From light bulbs and telephones to vaccines and microprocessors, our inventions and ideas have improved the lives—and even saved the lives—of countless people around the globe.

In the pantheon of American innovation, Thomas Edison holds a unique place. He became a symbol of American ingenuity and the conviction that inspiration and perspiration could lead to remarkable things.

In this 1885 sketch, Edison notes some ideas for improving the incandescent light bulb.

He certainly has been an inspiration to me in my career. I’m lucky enough to own a few pieces of Edison memorabilia, including his sketch of an idea for improving the incandescent light bulb and some papers on finding a substitute for rubber. Looking at this work, it’s easy to see a creative mind continually trying to refine and improve his ideas.

Obviously, Edison’s inventions were revolutionary. But as this book makes clear, the way he worked was also crucial for his success. For example, Edison consciously built on ideas from predecessors as well as contemporaries. And just as important, he assembled a team of people—engineers, chemists, mathematicians, and machinists—that he trusted and empowered to carry out his ideas. Names like Batchelor and Kruesi may not be famous today, but without their contributions, Edison might not be either.

Second, Edison was a very practical person. He learned early on that it wasn’t enough to simply come up with great ideas in a vacuum; he had to invent things that people wanted. That meant understanding the market, designing products that met his customers’ needs, convincing his investors to support his ideas, and then promoting them. Edison didn’t invent the light bulb; he invented the light bulb that worked, and the one that sold.

Finally, Edison recognized that inventions rarely come in a single flash of inspiration. You set a goal, measure progress using data, see what’s working—and what isn’t working—adjust your plan, and try again. This process can be very frustrating because it means running into a lot of dead ends. But each dead end tells you something useful. As Edison famously said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”

These lessons are just as true today as they were in Edison’s time. Innovators still have to work in teams. (Although that’s far easier to do today than at the turn of the twentieth century. Imagine what the Wizard of New Jersey’s Menlo Park could have done with the tools coming out of California’s Menlo Park.) Innovators still have to understand and solve real-world problems, and they still have to persevere for the long haul. Scientists run trial after trial to perfect a new vaccine. Co-workers at software companies debug each other’s code.

While we’ve seen amazing advances in science and technology since Edison’s day, these things have not changed. Thomas Edison remains a powerful exemplar of creativity, perseverance, and optimism. Even more than light bulbs and movie cameras, that may be his greatest legacy.

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