Earlier this month I went to a five year olds’ birthday party and the children that attended were ages five through nine but the majority were five years old. The place where the party was held had various games for them to play. Regardless of the type of game, when the children failed, they tried over and over and over again to get it right. They ran into walls, ran into each other, fell down and jumped right back up. When one of the adults told them how to play the game better, they didn’t hear or internalize criticism but literally took the advice and ran with it; screaming all the way, I can do it, let me do it. Defeat, fear or rejection did not enter their mind; their only goal was getting it right, and winning.
Sara Blakely, Spanx Founder and self made billionaire, said “The way that you embrace the fear of failure, is a big part of where you end up in your life.” So what happens when you don’t get the job you want, or the promotion, or the movie role; whatever it is from the important to the mundane? Does rejection and fear keep you from forging ahead? Fear and rejection are two powerful emotions; too many never try for fear of rejection and those who try and are rejected, never try again. Michael Jordan stated: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Can you say the same? How many times have you trained, studied and prepared for what it is you say you want? How many times have you failed, picked yourself up and tried again? Michael is telling you the formula for winning is in the doing (there are so many lessons to be learned in the process of doing) and the lesson of a champion is they never give up. At the beginning of June 2012, I began my final quarter of grad school. The quarter entails completing a rigorous final project. When I read the professor’s introduction notes, he stated it would be my most challenging quarter so get prepared. Two paragraphs in particular caught my attention; the first: you must learn how to accept criticism of your work and the second: a positive attitude is critical for success.
At the end of the summer, I will receive my Masters in Science, a graduate degree in psychology. Yes, I’ve learned psychological frameworks and leadership theories, methods and interventions but the most important thing I’ve learned, and what the research indicates, is that good ole logic and left brain characteristics alone are not enough to make you really successful in life. It is what Sara and Michael have figured out; it is the combination of utilizing both left brain (IQ) but especially, right brain (EI) characteristics that shapes and develops superstars.
Internationally known psychologist Daniel Goleman brought the term “emotional intelligence” to light in 1995, he stated, “Biological impulses drive our emotions; we cannot do away with them but we can do much to manage them. Self regulation, which is like an ongoing inner conversation is the component of emotional intelligence that frees us from being prisoner’s of our feelings.”
Nobel Prize winner Roger Sperry studied “split-brain” and found each hemisphere has its own specialized form of intellect. Although our brains work as a merged entity the left has been associated with logic, analytical and rational thought and the right with holistic, authenticity, resilience and understanding the emotions of others. Goleman found that while left brain characteristics were associated with success and leadership, it is insufficient. He states, it is the characteristics associated with the right brain that are the sine qua non of success, meaning absolutely essential.
In a 2008 Business Week column titled “Hiring is hard work” by Jack & Suzy Welch, they stated: “A misstep we’ve both taken is hiring a candidate who’s smart and capable but just too lacking in emotional intelligence.” To be a winner you must be able to forge ahead in spite of fear; be able to accept criticism and learn from it; be able to manage your emotions when the inevitability of rejection shows up, maintain a positive attitude and be resilient.
Are you resilient? Are you in control of your emotions or do you wither like a flower in the hot sun when someone doesn’t hire, believe in or like you? Learn to process rejection with a healthy, positive outlook, such as: the company doesn’t fully understand what I bring to the table or what I bring to the table doesn’t fit with the company’s culture or I need to get trained in xyz if I want to pursue a senior leadership position.
Positivity is on automatic pilot for five year olds but you have to train your brain to think positive. When you have positive internal dialogue, it shifts your perspective and tells your inner self that there is nothing wrong with you when things don’t go as planned. Your inner dialogue is the most consistently important conversation you’ll ever have, so keep it positive. Whenever you are faced with fear or rejection, you must continue to get up, dress up and show up; you must continue the process of doing. Make this a habit and eventually you’ll embrace the fear of failure. You’ll be like those five year olds at the party and try over and over and over again, screaming the entire time, I can do it, let me do it.
What fear and rejection have you overcome? Share your stories and inspire others. Follow me DGSBlogger on Twitter