You’ll find this phrase on any company prospectus, usually to warn investors that the good trend may not last. But the opposite is also true: past failures do not a failure make.
I saw this play out firsthand with my oldest daughter. She is involved in speech and debate, to the point that, in the spring, she is at a tournament almost every other weekend. Over the past four years she has blossomed from a shy little girl into a beautiful, articulate young lady.
This year, one of her chosen events is expository speaking, which is your standard, memorized speech with the addition of visual aids.
The first tournament, she placed 12th out of 25 students. Not a bad ranking, but not anywhere near where she wanted to be. She took the suggestions from the ballots, rewrote her speech, revised her props and at the second tournament she landed at the very bottom – a rank she hasn’t seen since she started four years ago.
But I didn’t see a single tear about it. Her teammates gave her some tips and she, again, looked at the trends from the ballots and rewrote her speech. As a result, the next tournament she came in 9th out of 33 – just one place shy of breaking into finals, but earning her half the points she needs to qualify for nationals.
She knew she couldn’t ride on her mediocre performance from the first tournament. And she didn’t wallow about the setback at the second. She stepped up. She owned the problem. She sought advice. And took steps to solve it.
And do you know what she was doing the following week? She was pouring over the ballots, revising her speech, and practicing so she can do even better at the next tournament. Because this girl has a goal. And a plan. And she doesn’t have time to let her past disappointments define where she is going nor coast along with “well-enough”.