You may have heard the saying, “2nd place is first loser.” I hate that saying. I mean, no one likes coming in 2nd place, but does it really mean you are a loser? This time of year, there are a lot of sports playoffs happening. I recently viewed the Women’s College Volleyball Championship which was a very close game between two excellent teams. In fact, just to get to the playoffs proves these are teams who are doing things right! So, while I watched the final shots and saw the “thrill of victory” on one side, I couldn’t ignore the “agony of defeat” on the other.
What do you do when you’ve worked hard, made many great decisions, zigged when you should have, zagged when you should have, and still you don’t reach your ultimate goal? Well, goals aren’t always the ultimate measure of success. After all, if you ALWAYS achieve your goals, then maybe you aren’t shooting high enough. Goals should be audacious visions of what we want to do. But, if they are too easy, then maybe they aren’t worth doing. Making them hard, and even a bit out of reach, means we have to keep reaching upward. But that also means that when we don’t reach them, we can’t look at the experience as a failure, but instead remember all the victories along the way. Sure, we always want to review where we could do better, but success isn’t simply about reaching the goal itself. Instead, it is more about looking back and feeling the satisfaction of all the milestones we made and the obstacles we overcame to get where we are.
Watching the women on the volleyball team that came in a little short against such a great opponent, made me realize that although their immediate feelings were obvious disappointment, when given the chance to review all the “wins” along the way, I know they will feel like the successful players they are. After all, it really isn’t about how close we came, but rather how far we made it!
Kim B. is a Talent Sherpa who thinks sleeping is an underrated activity and tops every sandwich with potato chips.