Handle Success Like You Handle Failure By Brian Biro

Whatever products your company markets, however, your compensation plan functions, never forget that in network marketing, you are in the PEOPLE business. It’s the relationships you build; it’s how you grow and help others grow that will determine how far you will go!

In my most recent book, Lessons from the Legends, I dive into the timeless teaching and principles of two of the greatest coaches of all-time, John Wooden of UCLA Basketball, and Pat Summit of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols. Their foundational principles are as powerful and important in network marketing as on the basketball court.

One of the most vital of the fundamental lessons Pat Summitt included in her blueprint to reach your potential, which she called the Definite Dozen, was to handle success like you handle failure.

Although Pat Summitt hated to lose, she also saw failure as vital to the improvement process. After all, as John Wooden often said, “Failure is never fatal. Success is never final.” Pat Summitt believed that it’s what you learn and apply from every experience and performance that truly matters. The essential focus in her teaching and coaching was to control what is controllable—effort, energy, attitude, and putting the team first.

So, whether Tennessee came out ahead or behind on the scoreboard, whether or not they won the National Championship, Coach Summitt always felt there were areas to improve, adjustments to make, and lessons to learn. As a result, she was sometimes much more disappointed in her team and herself after a win than a loss if she felt she and her players had fallen below their potential and come out on top simply because of superior talent.

You approach every experience as a leg of a journey rather than as a final destination. You never become arrogant or conceited no matter how much success you have achieved because you recognize that change is the only constant. Unless you learn as much from your successes as you do from your failures, you will be unable to improve.

Coach Pat Summitt believed in disrupting the status quo long before those became buzzwords in personal and team development. She sought to shape the future rather than wait for it. With this perspective, it was natural for her to become a lifelong learner who recognized that each day, we’re given the greatest gift of all, which is called today. Every day is new, with new challenges, opportunities, successes, and failures. To overblow successes or to hold on to failures was simply counter-productive. This type of mindset places your focus on the past rather than the present, which is where the only real progress can be achieved.

The story of the great American track star Wilma Rudolph provides a brilliant demonstration of this Pat Summitt Definite Dozen principle. Wilma showed what is possible when you handle success and failure with the same indomitable spirit. Rudolph won three gold medals at the 1960 Rome Olympics, including the coveted 100-meter dash crown, earning her the title of the World’s Fastest Woman. But it was the way she dealt with failure long before she stood atop that Olympic medal stand that led to her incredible success.

Wilma was born into extreme poverty in rural Tennessee, the twentieth of twenty-two children. She was stricken with many diseases as a young child—scarlet fever, double pneumonia, and, most debilitating, polio, which left her left leg and foot terribly weak and increasingly deformed. But little Wilma’s spirit knew no limits. When her mother asked her what she wanted to become when she grew up, Wilma told her that she wanted to be the fastest runner in the world. The polio was cruel, however, and by the time she was eight years old, the doctors informed her mother that Wilma would never walk again.

Wilma’s mother, Blanche Rudolph, refused to accept that crippling life sentence for her daughter. For two straight years, twice each week, she brought Wilma to Meharry Hospital—the black medical college of Fisk University in Nashville—a difficult trek of fifty miles each way for treatment and physical therapy. After two years, Wilma had made enough progress that she could walk with the aid of a metal brace. For another two years, her mother, brothers, and sisters helped Wilma with physical therapy exercises at home every single day. They never gave up. By thirteen, Wilma could walk without the brace, crutches, or corrective shoes.

That’s when she decided to transform her six-year-old vision of becoming a great runner into reality. Nothing was going to keep her from running! At thirteen years old, she competed in her first 100-meter school race and finished dead last. For that first year of sprinting, that was the only place she finished—last.

But rather than becoming discouraged, she used each race as an opportunity to learn, to improve, and to persevere. She made no excuses. Gradually, she got faster and faster and faster until she earned a track scholarship at Tennessee State University. From there, she just kept running, earning a spot on the 1956 US Olympic team and a silver medal in the Melbourne Games. Four years later, in Rome, she became the fastest woman on planet Earth and the greatest female sprinter in history up to that time.

When Wilma won her Olympic gold medals, she handled success as she had handled failure, just the way Pat Summitt handled the diagnosis of her early onset Alzheimer’s, with grace and humility.

Jack Nicklaus is considered by many to have been the greatest golfer of all time. He won eighteen major championships, and only Tiger Woods, with fifteen major victories, is within seven of that remarkable achievement. Perhaps just as extraordinary, Nicklaus finished second in nineteen major championships! After every single one of those runner-up finishes, Jack Nicklaus was the epitome of class, dignity, and respect. He always gave tremendous praise to the champion. He never made excuses for coming up short and, without exception, gave credit while taking responsibility for his own performance. When he won, he was equally respectful of his competitors and genuinely grateful for his good fortune in being able to come out on top.

Like Jack Nicklaus, Wilma Rudolph, and Pat Summitt, those who handle success like they handle failure are very hard to offend. ..


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Brian Biro
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