If you haven't been fired at least once - are you really trying?
Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a huge Denver Broncos fan. When you are born and raised in Denver, it's basically in the water. You have no choice but to root for the home team. And I'm no fair-weather fan... I've seen them do it all and rooted for them every time including 3 incredibly exciting Super Bowl wins - and 5 incredibly depressing losses (and when the Broncos lose the Super Bowl - they lose big). My wife still does not understand how I can get so emotionally involved with a game I have no control over (clearly she does not realize the team can hear me yelling at them through the TV).
But this time around as the Broncos won the Super Bowl - I have a new found perspective that I did not have before. It probably has a bit to do with running my own company for the past 3 years - turning 50 this year (I guess I am a Super Bowl Baby) - and finally coming to terms with a little thing called failure.
In American culture today, we only celebrate the winners - and yes, I've done my fair share of trash talking this year as the Broncos earned bragging rights as Super Bowl 50 Champions. But the real story I love about the Broncos winning this year is this: Their Head Coach, Gary Kubiak, and their Defensive Coordinator, Wade Phillips, were fired from the Houston Texans just 2 years ago - and Coach Phillips was completely out of football last year. That's right - they went from scapegoat to hero in just 2 years.
One of the quotes I keep hearing attributed to Coach Kubiak is: "life in the NFL is fair - you just have to continue to work hard and your hard work will be rewarded." There is something to this. How many times have you heard someone say, "life isn't fair" or how many times have you said that yourself? I know I have on many occasions when things just weren't going my way.
But as you get older you experience the truth path of life. We want to believe, and are taught to believe, that life will look like this:
But in reality, life looks a bit like this:
So even though we hate to fail, and often times will not even take action because we are afraid to fail, we have to fight with all our might to go ahead and take action anyway. Because action is where we really live. Action is where things get messy. Action is when we sack the quarterback, or throw the Touch Down pass, or win (or lose) - but if you don't take action, you'll get run over by those who are. There is no guarantee that your actions will be successful - but I can guarantee you if you don't take action your life will never amount to much.
Once we accept that failure is a part of success (a key part, actually), then we can implement the part of the success formula we can control. We can't control if we will win, or if someone will like us, or if we will get the next big account - but we can control how hard we work - how consistent we are over time - and how we learn and optimize our own lives. If you take those actions - life (and the NFL) will indeed be fair. Because over time - life rewards those who keep working and keep taking action.
"The only real failure in life is giving up." A.G. Street
So for me this year, instead of just hanging up a championship pennant for the Broncos winning the Super Bowl (who am I kidding, of course I'm gong to get all the championship memorabilia) but I am also going to get a picture of Coach Kubiak and Coach Phillips blown up to hang on my wall with the words - FIRED in 2013 - SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS 2016 - to remind me to just keep pounding (that one's for you, my Carolina friends, because there is always next year!).