Few days ago, I was dropping my 9 years old son, Carl, to his friends for some afternoon activity. While waiting for the elevator at the building entrance, my son approached me and held my hand saying: “Dad, I know the ten steps to Success, do you know them?” I said with a surprise tone and an internal sense of pride: “Really! Well I do not know them, what are they?” He said, listen:
Step1: Try, if it doesn’t work
Step2: Try again, if it still doesn’t work
Step 3: Try once more. Still not working?
Step 4: Try differently. No success?
Step 5: Try again tomorrow; if nothing worked
Step 6: Try to ask for help
Step 7: Try with someone who’s done it before
Step 8: Try to determine what is not working
Step 9: Try to determine what is working
Step 10: Just keep trying
As I heard him list the steps, my surprise and pride grew bigger, and a sense of content that my son is on the right track overtook me. I was glad that he is starting to understand that Life is not a piece of cake, and that getting what you want needs a lot of hard work and perseverance.
I truly haven’t heard of those steps before, and I don’t know if you did. However, I am confident that all of us are aware of the powers of ‘Trying’. We all know that achieving business goals is not a one shot game; we all are aware of the game theory and that many independent variables interfere in our Master Plans and efforts to realize our objectives. We all know that losing a battle does not mean losing the War and that if you miss a game it does not mean that you’ve missed the whole Season.
Yet, despite the fact that we know this deep inside ourselves, how many times we actually surrender? How many times we stand at the brink of jumping into nothingness just because something did not work out. How many projects, innovative ideas, great thoughts we kept for ourselves, or ditched just because someone at work did not think they are the right ones? How many times we stand up for what we believe in and keep trying with our direct manager or CEO?
Even more, how much stamina and perseverance are we nurturing into our young generation? We read a lot these days about the stereotyping of Millennials, however, let’s think a bit, how much of the Millennials Attitude is actually built by us? In an Age of Shortcuts, easy gain is becoming a trend. With so many options available in a globalized talent and commercial market, how much are we focusing on achievement versus constantly hopping options, surrendering at the very first down-turn?
It feels very awkward that I’m writing this because my son has just taught me the 10 steps to success. It is awkward because we’re supposed to teach our children what it means ‘not to surrender’, we’re in charge of helping them accept the pain while trying, and to hang in there until they succeed.
My question is how many times we hang in there? And how many times we tell ourselves: “I will keep trying?” Most important, how many times we refuse to listen to our little ones? How many times we dismiss an idea or a suggestion at work just because it came from someone who is less experienced? How many times we look at new joiners as students rather than as a rich source of learning? How many opportunities have we lost because we put aside all the ideas and suggestions of that innovative, self-driven and extremely creative new joiner in our marketing or business development departments?
Many grand lessons I learned from my son the other day. He taught me to accept that lessons in life can come from anyone and in any place even while waiting for the elevator. He taught me not to assume that you cannot learn from the young and inexperienced. He taught me that Businesses need to look at any of its human resources as a main source of learning. He taught me that true Leaders are those who never lose touch with reality. He taught me that we should not give up too early rather we should never give up at all. Most importantly, he taught me to remember that Success is never easy, and the magic pill for realizing it is simply ‘To keep trying’. To him I’m thankful.