Focus On Your Successes

Photo:  Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

“…you focus on your successes, find lessons in your losses, and then handily bury [the losses] in the DIRT.”

By: Lauren Broussard, Co-Founder, The Memo

A few months ago, I dusted off my (rarely) used athletic shoes and hit the basketball court with a close friend. We played a quick game of H-O-R-S-E to warm up, followed by a game of one-on-one. I’d played basketball in high school and was a good outside shooter back then. My friend is a solid player, and we'd done a lot of trash talking leading up to the game. While I didn’t count on a victory, I did not expect what happened next.

Fast-forward barely TEN minutes – Friend: 11; Me: 0. Game over. It was not even a contest. I’d lost embarrassingly. After the game, I texting with another friend, who is both a basketball player and a coach.

She said something that has stuck with me ever since: “…you focus on your successes, find lessons in your losses, and then handily bury [the losses] in the DIRT.”

Focus On Your Successes

What success was I missing here? Oh, right. I’d won at that warm up game of H-O-R-S-E. At the time, when compared to my 11 points to zero loss, my H-O-R to H-O-R-S-E victory seemed stupid. I’d won, though! I hadn’t lost both events. Really, even if I hadn’t ended up winning that game of H-O-R-S-E, I had at least scored. More importantly, I’d laced up my shoes and gone out to play. No matter the outcome, just showing up and giving it your all is success.

In our careers, we often focus on the things we aren’t good at, or the things that another person is better at than we are. We agonize over our missteps, and forget the things we did well. Maybe a customer gave you a bad review – well, what about the ten other positive reviews you received? Or, what about that project you’d been putting off all week that you finally completed? What about that training class you enrolled in, to keep your skills sharp? Give yourself credit for the things you were successful at, no matter how small. Do your happy dance. (I’m a fan of keeping a success journal. Mine is in a physical book, but for those technology enthusiasts: there’s an app for that.)

What did you succeed at last week?

Find Lessons In Your Losses

What did I learn from that loss? I learned that my moves that day were all fairly predictable (i.e. I pretty exclusively drive the ball left, because that’s my dominant hand). I learned – in that particular match-up – I’d have more success making a jump shot than a layup, but would have to learn (and practice) to create space to take the shot. I learned I’d have to hustle more next time to get a rebound. I learned that being a good player in high school does not – without practice – translate to being a good player in my thirties. (Ok, fine. I knew this one already.).

What parts of your career “losses” can you learn from? Perhaps you promised a client you'd complete something days ago, but haven't yet. Get it done today (apologize, and then make sure to never do that again). Maybe you received constructive feedback from your boss or a customer – this week, what steps can you take to turn that feedback into positive action? Think back to mistakes you thought you couldn’t come back from in the past, and how you surprised yourself with the way you bounced back.

What lessons did you learn last week?

And Finally – Bury It In The Dirt

This is not to say that you should pretend as if you didn’t make the mistake. Rather, dig yourself out, fix the mess you made, and then put your shovel away. Fix it, and don’t dwell.

As we head into a new week, ladies, let’s remember the victories of last week -- in our careers, relationships, on the court, etc. Let’s consider the lessons learned in our failings, make the changes necessary changes to fix them, and keep on moving forward.

Here’s to another awesome week!