Although I live in New York, I am unabashedly a Miami Heat supporter and fan of the Big Three. And so, it was with great joy that I watched the Heat dominate the Oklahoma City Thunder and secure their second NBA title. I was especially happy for LeBron James, whose sterling performance helped secure the win and his first ring and, in the process, silenced many of his critics.
As the seconds ticked away in the final minutes of the game, you could feel the disappointment of last year’s failure slowly dissipating and being replaced with jubilation as LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh celebrated with their teammates on the sidelines.
In a post-game interview, Wade spoke of the “hurt, pain, and embarrassment” they suffered after being crushed by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 finals and how that experience served to motivate them to do better this year.
Pain, heartache, difficulty, failure, setbacks, and tragedy are perfectly normal. They are inevitable signposts on the path to success. They are not suggestions that your goals should be abandoned. On the contrary, they speak directly to the meaningfulness of your pursuits.
Everyone will have to deal with these signposts at some point in their life. They cannot be bypassed; you must contend with them. The not-so-successful types allow these bumps in the road to push them off track and define who they are as a person. The successful ones, however, do not see failure as a permanent condition nor themselves as a failure. Instead, they view their actions and the results of those actions as such and are thus able to use the experience to get better.
As General Colin Powell once said, “Failure and mistakes aren’t fun, but they are what help us learn to be great at whatever it is we are trying to achieve. There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”
How do you turn the tables?
How do you turn pain into pleasure, tragedy into joy, your most embarrassing moment into your crowning achievement?
These “Five R’s” will help you to push past the crushing disappointment and find success:
1. Recognition of What Happened
Whether it is getting fired when you thought you were doing a stellar job, loosing an important contract or client without warning, the sudden breakup of a relationship, or anything in between, the first thing you have to do is acknowledge what has taken place. Don’t get stuck wallowing in self-pity and denial—that is the worst thing you could do.
Although the Heat were hurt and embarrassed by the loss in the 2011 finals, according to Head Coach Erik Spoelstra, they acknowledged their failure. He said, “We all decided—the players and the staff, the whole organization—that everybody needed to own it, for it to become just a part of the journey.”
2. Refocus/Retool your Vision
Experiencing failures and setbacks gives you the opportunity to learn from them, and one of the best ways to do that is to really examine yourself as a person. This process helps you to gauge how prepared you were in the first place to take on these challenges and leads you to what needs to be done to better prepare you for the next go around.
LeBron spoke about how introspective he became after last year’s defeat. He realized that, in the 2010-2011 season, he played with a lot of anger and like man who felt he had something to prove. This year, he retooled his vision of himself. He saw himself as a player who loves and is passionate about the game and that joy and pleasure he feels helped him to raise his game and transcend the challenges he faced.
It is important to note that the circumstances and the challenges you face will more than likely not get any easier; therefore, you must get better in order to conquer them.
3. Reevaluate your Actions
During the off-season, James worked closely with Hall of Fame players to develop and improve certain aspects of his game. The results were evident not only in his approach to the game but also in his performance on the court. Coach Spoelstra also used the time to consult with college and professional coaches in both basketball and football, using the newfound knowledge to take advantage of the Heat’s athleticism. Even during the playoffs, those more knowledgeable than I am about the game spoke about the nuanced changes the coach made between games to ensure success.
You have to be courageous and wise enough to know that if what you are doing isn’t producing the desired results, you must take different actions.
4. Rely on your Support System
Having a support system to call on during difficult times is invaluable. In fact, it is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to bounce back from a setback. As they say, “teamwork makes the dream work,” so take advantage of those in your circle—family, close friends, and others critical to your well-being and success—and learn how they overcome failure.
Like LeBron James and Coach Spoelstra did, seek out those people and get them on your team. The Heat players relied on each other and even the fans during the tough times. In order to overcome the failure, you, too, will need to rely on your teammates.
5. Renew and Implement your Plan
This is where the rubber meets the road. Everything you have learned about yourself through the process of self-evaluation and introspection—assessing your past actions and commitment to work as part of a team and the advice and support you garner from close friends and family—must come together in the form of a new plan which MUST be executed.
You must give yourself a second chance to achieve your dreams. You do that by taking decisive action.
Keep On Pushing!
As an original member of the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team and captain of the 1992 and 1998 teams, three-time Olympian, Devon Harris achieved his grand dream. His current dream is to inspire others to achieve theirs. Tapping the same energy, determination, and skills that enabled him to bobsled with the best in the world. Devon, as a motivational speaker, is now sparking audiences of all ages to dream big and take their “game” to the next level. For more inspiration from Devon, visit his WEBSITE or check him out on FACEBOOK.
*Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images as posted on BleacherReport.com.