I recently read an article about Dominic Eldridge, a certification student who earned nine certifications, but along the way failed five times. Failure can stop a lot of people, but this guy used his failures as motivation. “I think a lot of people are worried about failing the test. That’s a waste of mental energy. It’s no big deal if you fail. I’ve failed five different times on these tests. You just go back and figure out what you did wrong and take it again,” he said. “The first time I was really embarrassed. The second time too, but not as much as the first time. Third time — didn’t bother me at all. There’s no limit on how many times you can take an exam. Once you pass people don’t even remember you failed, they just care that you’re certified.” I like his attitude because it reminds me of Stephen Curry. (Full disclosure, I’m a huge Warriors fan.) I enjoy watching Curry light up opposing teams with his 3-point bombs. When his career is over, he will go down as one of the NBA’s greatest players.
What most people don’t know about Curry, however, is how he got started. In his first collegiate game at tiny Davidson College, Curry turned the ball over 15 times! Let me say that again, “Dude had 15 turnovers in his first game!” It would have been easy for him to become discouraged and doubt his abilities, but Curry didn’t. He kept learning and trying, and look at him now — the quickest to 1,500 3-point shots made and on pace for 400 3-pointers made this year, breaking his own record of 286 set last year. He’s also well on his way to a second consecutive MVP.
Basketball and earning a certification have a lot in common: They both require hard work, discipline, sacrifice and lots of practice. Curry can be proud of his accomplishments, and so too can Eldridge. They worked hard, learned from their failures, kept trying and achieved lofty goals.
The reason Curry and Dominic’s stories thrill me is because I recently tried to achieve a lofty goal and am learning from my mistake. This week was TestOut’s annual bowling excursion. For 366 days the Marketing Department had been walking around like they owned the place — they had won the coveted “Golden Pin” trophy for the past two years. But not this year. This was gonna be my year!
I showed up at the alley “locked and loaded,” ready to lead the my own Band of Brothers to an overwhelming and inspiring victory. I hadn’t really practiced, or anything, but I had a secret weapon. To ensure victory, I was wearing my lucky Stephan Curry socks!
Unfortunately, Marketing is now a “Three-peat” champion. Although I did take second place as the “Best Individual Bowler,” my super secret hosiery wasn’t enough to lock down the team championship.
Now that I’ve had a few hours to reflect on the experience, and the jeers and taunts of Marketing have faded, I realize that I could have done more. I should have practiced bowling once or twice, maybe worked on my form a little and better prepared for the event. I should have been like Curry and Eldridge.
I’ve learned my lesson. In the coming year I’m actually going to do some bowling, and encourage others in my department to join me. I’ve got 365 days to prepare, and I’ve got a new secret weapon.
About the Author — Kyle Orton is a sales manager for TestOut Corporation. He has a business management degree with an emphasis in marketing from Brigham Young University. He is married to Jill Orton, the love of his life, and they have five children. Kyle is a die-hard Golden State Warriors fan — he recently mortgaged his home to bet on them winning consecutive championships. (No, really. Please don't tell Jill.)
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