Last week my 5 year old daughter had a “race day” at her school. Every grade participated and there were three medals (gold, silver and bronze) distributed per grade for the winners of the race. Just to give you a little context, my daughter is a mini alex when it comes to sports. She is very talented in different areas but her natural abilities are not really in sports. So when I came back home from work that day, I found my little girl curled up in a ball on the couch, under a cozy fuzzy blanket, quietly whimpering away. When I asked her what was wrong, she flung into my arms and sobbed: I didn’t win the medal.
I felt my heart crack and held her tight and brought her into the kitchen to discuss her feelings about what happened that day. Although, to most, it might just seem like a mini event in the grand scheme of things in the life of a 5 year old, but I believe the way we react to defeat has been taught to us from a very young age. For most of us, it goes something like this: We fail at something. We cry. We get angry. A while later, most don’t try but some of us try again. We fail again. We tell ourselves that it is no surprise since we failed before. A few of us try yet again. We fail again. We tell ourselves we aren’t good. We give up. For good this time and hesitate the next time opportunity knocks.
Some of you might be like: yeah, and… your point is….?
What do electricity, Mickey Mouse and Vera Wang have in common?
Guess What?…Everyone has failed at some point. The people we consider the brightest have all failed, over and over and over again. But they NEVER quit! Here are just a few examples:
Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor felt he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Oprah Winfrey was publicly fired from her first television job as an anchor in Baltimore for getting “too emotionally invested in her stories.”
Vera Wang failed to make the 1968 US Olympic figure-skating team. Then she became an editor at Vogue, but was passed over for the editor-in-chief position.
Thomas Edison’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.”
Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, had his first book rejected by 27 different publishers.
My message to my daughter that day (and all of us too!):
You have the world in front of you. So many great things to look forward to if you open your eyes.
You have so many precious gifts to share with this world. So stand tall and don’t be afraid to show them.
Never let anything stand in your way to succeeding. Live life as though it is a fantastic adventure not a competition. Be happy for those who win. Just because they win before you doesn’t mean your chance won’t come one day.
Believe in yourself. Be true to yourself and never ever quit on yourself.