Welcome to 2013. New Year’s Day is a great day for pushing your life’s reset button and I appreciate your letting me be a part of that with you. If you’re joining on a different day, my message is still timely. After all, life is full of reset points.
Winning and losing streaks*
Several years ago I let a failed business define me–I could only think of myself as a failed businessperson, thus, a failed human being. Then, I hit the reset button with what I learned from Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter’s excellent book, Confidence: How Winning Streaks and Losing Streaks Begin and End.
She explained, using anecdotes from business, sports and other realms, that people love to back a winner. This sounds glaringly obvious, but she goes further to explain why.
The enthusiasm that surrounds a winner helps to perpetuate a winning streak because the winner doesn’t have to waste time and energy explaining their every move; backers vouch for winners among their associates, who may have talent and resources the winner needs. This cycle of support carries a winner over the finish line.
On the other hand, when people lose confidence in you or what you’re doing, even though it may be genius, you’re pegged a “loser.” Losers spend more time and energy explaining themselves than in doing the thing that needs to be done. People won’t open their checkbooks or Rolodexes to losers. All of this can actually cause failure–snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. It’s the unique person who has the stamina to withstand constant criticism, which is why the people you surround yourself with are so important.
Back from the brink
At a point in my personal reset process I decided to ride a motorcycle from North Carolina to Oregon and back. Most people thought I was nuts. After all, I didn’t know how to ride a motorcycle and didn’t have money to buy one.
This brings me to the main point of today’s contemplation: your support system. My backers put me in touch with people I needed to know; they taught me skills; they backed me with money, smiles, couches to surf, and a motorcycle. One by one, the pavers on my yellow brick road fell into place.
If you listen to the podcast of this post, I’ll tell you about the financial miracle that got me home to North Carolina from Oregon when I didn’t have enough money to make it past Colorado.
Whatever you want your year to hold, claim it. Then find people who will support you. They’re out there, I promise.
I look forward to seeing you tomorrow and to hearing how the stories in this series touch your experience.
Want to get the entire series of Life Lessons from the Road by email with a link to the podcast? Hit this link.
*As we get ready to spend the next 89 days together, (through March 31) I want to emphasize that although I’ve learned a lot about life and myself from my cross-country motorcycle travels, which form the basis of this series, I am not an accredited psychologist or counselor. I am someone who’s been through the Twenty-third Psalmist’s “valley of the shadow of death” and come through the other side to tell the tale. You can listen to me being interviewed about my journey from the brink with WFAE’s Mike Collins here if you want to know more.