Ten Powerful Turn-Failure-Into-Success Strategies

By Bill Cole

Henry Ford believed that “Failure is only an opportunity to begin again more intelligently.” Woody Allen says, “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying anything.” And Winston Churchill held that “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” All these great men know that dealing with failure successfully is part of a winner’s mind set. Here are my top ten mental strategies that winners use to keep them strong and take them towards success.

1. Winners Realize That Every Human Being Makes Mistakes: Richard Whately said, “He only is exempt from failures who makes no effort.” Even seemingly perfect, famous people make mistakes every day. If they fail, so can we. And we can move on from those errors to reach our potential.

2. Winners Attempt To Make Fewer Mistakes: “The greatest general is he who makes the fewest mistakes.” Napoleon Bonaparte was right. In sports, the team making the fewest errors usually wins. Most battles are won through error containment. Make your mistakes, but limit when you do them and how often.

3. Winners Correct Their Mistakes: St. Augustine said “It is human to err, but it is devilish to remain willfully in error.” Confucius said, “A man who has committed a mistake and doesn’t correct it is committing another mistake.” Winners take mistakes as an opportunity to make good, to move on, and to learn from the situation.

4. Winners Take Responsibility For Their Errors: “Do not blame anyone for your mistakes and failures” Bernard Baruch meant that to grow and change, we must see all of reality and we must deal with that reality. The first step in gaining control over our errors is admitting that they exist.

5. Winners Don’t Make The Same Mistake Twice: “He that’s cheated twice by the same man is an accomplice with the cheater.” Thomas Fuller said this to encourage us to learn from a mistake, vow to never repeat it, and to move on without reservation or fear of making other mistakes.

6. Winners Fail Fast And Move On: Business guru Tom Peters says “Only with failure can you verify wrong ways of doing things and discard those practices that hinder success.” Winners cultivate an attitude of “lead, follow or get out of the way”. They are voracious for success, and devour any mistake that can take them closer and faster to that success.

7. Winners Create A Lifetime Self-Coaching System: Baruch said that “The art of living lies less in eliminating our troubles than in growing with them”. Develop a self-coaching system that helps you see your errors, define them, accept responsibility for them, improve them and to do all that with a positive attitude.

8. Winners View Failure As Just A Detour, Just a Delay: “I think and think for months, for years. Ninety-nine times the conclusion is false. The hundredth time I am right.” Albert Einstein knew that persistence was key in being “creative”. The answer did not just drop out of the sky. He worked at it. He stayed with it.

9. Winners Know That Failure Is The Teacher Of Success: John McEnroe says “The important thing is to learn a lesson every time you lose”. McEnroe won more than any other tennis pro of his era, yet even he knows that errors are the sign-posts to success.

10. Winners Know That Admitting Failure Shows You To Be A Secure Person: Pro golfing legend Lee Travino said, “We all choke, and the man who says he doesn’t choke is lying like hell. We all leak oil.” The person trying to project an image of perfection is setting up a fragile reality, ready to burst at the wrong time. Be secure in your human imperfection. It’s easier than building an image that can’t be maintained.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time college athletics. www.SportsPsychologyCoaching.com
Copyright © 2000-2008 Bill Cole, MS, MA

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Superstar Athletes: What Makes Them Tick?

By Bill Cole

Who is your all-time favorite star athlete? I bet you can name a few. Whoever came to mind, I bet you admire them because they have great physical skills and they are thrilling to watch. Have you ever wondered what made them so good? What is inside their heads that gives them laser focus, high energy and determined drive leading to such high performance?

All great athletes have certain qualities in common. In fact, superstars in any field or discipline have common bonds of high standards, a commitment to excellence, dedication, a robust work ethic and a strong resistance to difficulties in their paths. They overcome adversity and seek challenges.

Let’s take a look at the attributes and qualities championship athletes have that place them into the superstar category. Let’s see what they can teach us so we can use those same mental game tools in our own lives. They have:

1. Composure, Poise and Presence. Champions maintain balance under the most extreme adversity. They don’t panic. They’re able to focus, stay relaxed and continue to walk the walk. They stay positive and act confidently to handle stress.

2. Confidence In Self. Champions believe in their capabilities and know what they can do. They maintain this sense of self even under pressure, or when things are not going well. They remind themselves that they have succeeded in tougher times than these.

3. Eternal Hope. Champions fight to the end. They never give up. They continually seek ways to win and experiment with tactics to turn things around in their favor. They truly believe that there is a way to win, and they just have to discover it.

4. Pacing Skills. Champions know when to take a break and relax. They know how to control the clock so they get a rest. They know that working non-stop leads to burn-out. They have the experience to know when to cruise and when to turn it on.

5. Control Factor Awareness. Champions know what they can control, what they can only influence and what is out of their control. They focus only on those things within their control or influence and let go of the rest.

6. Self-Awareness. Champions know themselves well. They understand what they need to do to perform well. They are aware of themselves in the moment and can make needed adjustments. They listen to their bodies, their minds and their emotions.

7. The Ability To Learn. Champions absorb experience very rapidly. They learn from every outing, good or bad. They seek feedback from others and consider all sides to infuse new techniques and methods into their play. They see what needs to be done to improve and win.

8. Coachability. Champions are coachable. They seek help from those who are more experienced. They form collaborative partnerships with those who can help them. They appreciate the art and science of coaching and make it an integral part of their training program.

9. A Strong Work Ethic. Champions know that hard work leads to confidence and the belief that they deserve to win because they have paid their dues. They know that hard work staves off self-doubt and lack of action. They know that practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. Only practice that is perfect makes perfect.

10. Commitment. Champions dream big and they make a pact with themselves to reach those goals. They stay on track in spite of setbacks. They continually remind themselves of their goals and readjust those goals as they are met. They make a commitment to train hard and follow-through no matter what.

Champions have control over themselves and yet can control only certain aspects of their performances. They know what factors they cannot control and let those go. They have practiced continuous improvement long before it became a buzzword. They learn well from themselves, from those around them and from their environment. They embrace winning, competition and reaching their potential as athletes and as persons. We can learn a tremendous amount from them.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on sports psychology, peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps sports teams and individuals achieve more success. He is also the Founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, an organization dedicated to advancing the research, development, professionalism and growth of mental game coaching worldwide. He is a multiple Hall-Of-Fame honoree as an athlete, coach and school alumnus, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published author of books and articles, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports and big-time college athletics. He can be reached at www.sportspsychologycoaching.com

Copyright © 2005-2008 Bill Cole, MS, MA. All rights reserved.