There is no doubt in my mind that the last month is the greatest month of sports. Beginning with the NCAA Tournament and followed up with Opening Day and The Masters. You absolutely cannot beat that and I will not entertain any arguments. The NCAA Tournament and The Masters provided shared a commonality that I did not see coming and that was the theme of redemption. We are not talking Redemption in the biblical sense here but rather the redemption which is defined as the action of regaining or gaining possession of something in exchange for payment or clearing a debt.
Last year UNC lost the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship at the buzzer to Villanova on a historic shot by Kris Jenkins, step-brother to Tar Heels guard Nate Britt. The team then took it upon themselves to declare this season as a Redemption Tour to take back what they thought was rightfully theirs, the NCAA Championship. Redemption was not preordained for the Tar Heels as they almost let it get away from them a few times in the tournament. First, there was Maye Day where it took a Luke Maye jump shot at the buzzer to beat Kentucky in the Elite Eight. Following that was the win over Oregon in the Semi-Final where UNC missed four straight free throws late, only to grab consecutive offensive rebounds on two of those misses to seal the victory. Finally, Gonzaga was the better team for most of the Championship game. A couple of questionable calls combined with some great plays by the Tar Heels allowed UNC to successfully complete their Redemption Tour as the 2017 NCAA Champions.
Then there was the drama that unfolded on Sunday in the final round of the Masters as Sergio Garcia beat Justin Rose on the first playoff hole to win not only his first Masters but his first major as well. That is right, he was 0-73 coming into the tournament in Augusta this past weekend. Like UNC, this title was not preordained for Sergio either as he blew a three-shot lead after five holes on Sunday. It looked as though Garcia was going to be 0-74 in majors as he made a mess out of the 10th and 11th holes, survived No. 12 and then pulled his drive at No.13 into a bush and the took an unplayable where it appeared he made his ball move while clearing away some pine straw. He now found himself two shots off the lead, but he made one of the great pars of his life. But it was his Eagle on 15 that showed the world he was not rattled and he was not going to allow himself to lose.
There were incredible story lines for both the UNC Tar Heels and Sergio Garcia that are as different as night and day. There was, however, one thing that the Tar Heels team and Sergio Garcia had in common more than any other. That was their ability to handle past failures in such a way that they put themselves in position to be successful, thus redeeming themselves. Unless you have been in similar situations or under similar circumstances, it is hard to properly describe the emotional highs and lows they went through. UNC for the last year and Sergio for the past 73 majors spanning almost 20 years.
Continuing to grow in the midst of failure is vital in our pursuit of success in business and in life.
Five Fool Proof Ways to Grow Through Failure
- Understand what it means and then move on. Take a step back and really look at what it means so that you can heal and move on. No one can expect you to act like it did not happen, especially if you put in a lot of time and effort.
- Learn from failure. What could you do differently? Take a look at what you should do more of, less of as well as what you should start and stop doing. It is key to be sure to look at what was working. You do not have to re-invent the wheel just because you came up short.
- Get organized and shift your focus. At this point, you have embraced the failure, learned from it and realized what you do next is most important. Sergio Garcia admits that in the past the problem was in his head and he was constantly trying to fight against something he can’t fight. He now understands that bad breaks happen and what matters is what you do next.From a scientific standpoint, it is directly related to the function of your Reticular Activating System(RAS), a bundle of nerves at the base of your brain which acts as a filter between your conscious and subconscious mind. Basically, it regulates your attention. Whatever you focus on consciously ignites your RAS. Shifting your focus from failure to your next endeavor can move your mind in the direction of finding the necessary resources, actions, and idea to achieve the success you desire.
- Create a positive mindset. Get rid of your limiting beliefs. Visualize your success on a daily basis no matter how much you are struggling. Your mind does not know the difference between what is real and what is imagined. Celebrate the small victories as you need a positive element in your feedback loop. Stay present and be resilient as things do not change overnight. Look at how long it took UNC and Sergio to redeem themselves.
- Surround yourself with positive people. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Take a good look at the people in your inner circle. The best people to have around you are ones with positive energy and people that you can trust to tell you what you need to hear. Sergio had his fiancé, Angela Akins, who has been an amazing influence on his mental approach to the game. After a week of constant encouragement she left him a note on the bathroom mirror the morning of the final round which read, “Don’t forget to be amazing today.”
You are not the first person to have failed and you certainly will not be the last. Fail fast and fail forward and continue to lock into your process on a daily basis. Keep moving toward success no matter how hard it seems at times. Success can be complicated so focus on controlling what you can while enjoying the journey to achieving things which many never thought possible.