Why are we asking our kids to settle for mediocrity?

By Tuesday, February 23, 2016 No tags Permalink 26

Rather we should celebrate their success and create teachable moments from their failures.

Today my sister-in-law told me that at my five-year-old niece’s first ever softball game, there were no winners or losers. I couldn’t believe it. Seriously? Everyone got to bat. Every inning. And because she was last, she always thought she hit a home run.

We need to lose in life. We need to win. Fair is not life.

Losing is what drives us. I frequently say, fail… let that be your catalyst to succeed. Let someone tell you you can’t, let that be your catalyst.

Growing up as the only girl, I felt like I was never good enough… I was never as smart, athletic, or clever as my brothers and dad. I always felt the need to prove myself… that was my driver to success.

Then my sister-in-law told me she won a jog-a-thon… and for the same reason, they didn’t announce winners or losers. Seriously people, where is the research and data that says this will help our kids? We are setting them up to become mediocre. Just what we need in a time of market corrections and deflation, with global competition at our heels.

I’ll never forget the day we once thought we lost all of our data at 6sense. We are a data-driven company. The data is at the heart of our secret sauce… the backbone of everything we do, everything we are. Without it, we would fail. I will never forget getting the news and standing up from my desk, calling the company together and telling them with confidence, “we have two choices here …we can let this take us down, or we can do what life is calling us to do… not only replace it, but replace it with a far better solution.”

And that’s what we did.

About six months later, we built a network of data unlike anything I could ever imagine… a solution 100X better than our previous. If that hadn’t happened, we would likely be struggling today. It forced me to hire Mark Dye, our CSO (and king of our data network), and forge incredible exclusive relationships with sources… creating tunnels of data I didn’t even know existed. At the time I had no clue this was even an option. But I knew I had a choice and I had to use failure… something having been taken away… as our catalyst. Yes, they say hindsight is 20/20, but you don’t have to wait and look back.

When I was twenty-something, I was introduced to triathlons. I was a long-time runner, swam a year in high school, but had no experience biking. For those of you that do tri’s, you know the bikers always win… I left the water always at the front of the pack, but got crushed on the bike and no matter how fast I ran, I could never make up time. My first ever real event was a club tri and all the participants had done them before and were above average. My friend finished and waited for me… just about 20 minutes after the last participant before me finished, the organizers started picking up the finish lines. My friend asked them to wait, telling them how hard I had trained for the race and how important crossing the finish line at my first race was to me. The organizer rudely denied her and said he wouldn’t wait, even though I was only a mile out.

When I finally made it in and saw the lines were up, I broke out in tears… a bit from the humiliation of not being able to cross the line, a bit from just being exhausted. I gave him a few select choice words through my tears and broken voice. But instead of making a stink to the organization, I decided to “show him…”

So for six months, I trained everyday, rode my bike miles upon miles uphill to get in the best biking shape possible… I knew I was already fine in the water and on my feet… When the next club race came around, I finished third in my age group. Funny enough, the organizer didn’t remember me. Instead he actually remarked that he had never seen me there before and asked me to join their club… I quickly reminded him of the last incident and who I was… he didn’t say much but the look on his face said it all…

The moral of the story… let someone tell you you can’t! Thank them, and let that be the catalyst that drives your success.