In the first post in this series, we mentioned that success is something that everyone desires, and yet few people define it the same way. Is success found in the results? Trophies? Awards and recognition? Is it found in effort and attitude? Since there are so many varying definitions of success, how do you know which one is best?
Today, we are going to offer a definition of success that can serve as your compass. It can guide you and lead you in defining success in way that is healthy and lasting. We take our inspiration for defining success from the greatest leader, teacher, and coach that has ever lived: John Wooden. Here is how we define success at Catcher University:
[Tweet “Success is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your absolute best to reach your potential.”]
That’s it. That is success defined in a way that will guide you, lead you, and inspire you in ways that are healthy and lasting. That is success defined in a way that will endure victory and defeat, good times and bad. Think about it this way: if a person gives their absolute best, what else to they have to give?
Notice that we don’t talk about results at all. True success is not measured by results. Results are part of the equation, but they should never be the entire equation, or even the main part of the equation. Why? Because you simply can’t control the results. Let’s think about an example from the sport I (Matt) am most familiar with – baseball:
Let’s imagine you’re a pitcher and you are throwing the game of your life. It is the bottom of the 9th inning and your team is winning 1-0. There are two outs, but your opponent has runners on 2nd and 3rd. The hitter at the plate has proven in his previous three at-bats that he cannot hit a curveball. The count is 1-2, and you throw a curveball. You throw the pitch beautifully, but just before the pitch gets to your catcher’s glove the batter throws his bat out and somehow hits a bloop single to right field (flashbacks to Salvador Perez in the 2014 Wild Card game, anyone?). Both runners score and you lose. Game over.
Are you a failure because you lost the game? Because you didn’t get the result you were striving for?
Victory and defeat are different from success and failure. Let me say that again:
[Tweet “Victory and defeat are different from success and failure”]
You did everything you possibly could in that situation: you were prepared, you gave your best effort, and you threw the right pitch beautifully. And yet, the hitter got lucky and got a walk-off base hit. If your definition of success is based on the results, you just failed. If it is the better, healthier definition of “the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your absolute best to reach your potential,” you walk off the field disappointed and sad for sure, but not a failure. You were prepared. You gave your best. You can know that even though you lost the game, you did not fail because you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your very best.
Before concluding, let me say again that results are an important part of athletics and competition. There is a scoreboard for a reason and we do not subscribe to the “everyone should get a trophy” school of thought. At Community for Coaches, we love to compete and we are constantly trying to improve as coaches. But, our success is not defined by the results. Results are a PART of the story, just not the WHOLE story.
True success is the peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your absolute best to reach your potential. You don’t have anything more to give than your best, and neither does anyone else. Defining success based on results is like building your house on the sand – it simply won’t last when the storm hits (and storms are a guarantee in both sports and life). Defining success as doing your best is like building your house on solid rock – when the storms comes, it might get a little shaky/hard for a while, but your house will be standing in the end.
So, now that we have success defined, we will spend the rest of this blog series offering suggestions for how you can strive for and achieve true, lasting success.