September 4, 2012
There were two events that I witnessed in just these past few hours that cause me to think about moving forward. If we are to move forward in any aspect of our lives, whether it is in our organizations or in our health, or our parenting, or in our relationships we have to be willing to try. And then to try again.
I know it sounds obvious, we’ve heard the prattler, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try again.” I know it’s a cliché we use in our pep talks to our teams or to ourselves. But, think for a second and turn it inside out – if you don’t want to succeed, or if you never want to move to the next level, or if you are resigned to the place you are right now – don’t do anything, don’t engage, don’t attempt ever, ever again.
Two separate occasions within hours of each other. The first example has to do with the decision that Kari and I made to begin lifting weights to improve our physical lives. Neither of us have done the real weight room thing before. A serious room, with literally tons of iron just waiting for you to take it on is, for most of us, intimidating. For my wife, Kari, performing this task is one to be done privately, no way would she venture into a room filled with experienced lifters – at least at the beginning of our new Body-By-Baker initiative. But today, it was a different scene. While we were lifting, people that she knew suddenly came into the area, not as others who were going to lift themselves, they were there to move some desks, office equipment and things like that. And so, there’s Kari, basically now in front of those who she knows, having to lift weights – almost as if she were performing onstage. But the thing that struck me was that she didn’t back down. She did the sets; she pushed her limits – in front of witnesses. She didn’t all of a sudden think she had to read some chart on the wall; she didn’t have to rush off to the bathroom, or make a cell phone call or fake a text message. She did the work; she tried, and tried again.
The second story has to do with a friend of mine who is looking for work. Bankrupt, working in a job that is unfulfilling and yet, in his own mind and in the mind of his wife, stuck. Waiting for God to show them the pathway out of their circumstances. I had a conference call with a client of mine who shared with me his need to hire. And the skill sets he was looking for matched my friend’s abilities. I shared the opportunity with my dear friend, only to hear that when they learned the job would require a move, they were not open to that idea, still confident that God is going to provide.
God does provide. I am not in any way in disagreement with that truth. But, what was so striking to me as I learned of their decision was that the hope of success must be coupled with the decision to try. If at first you don’t succeed, wait it out? No. Give it your whole energy. Even if it isn’t the job for you, the performance of striving, of trying once again is the performance that opens up opportunity.
In your personal life, are you backing down once again when faced with the idea of having to give it another shot? Are you so discouraged that you think you’ll never see your circumstance change?
If at first you don’t succeed…or, if you never want to succeed… the rest of it is up to you.
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