My first brush with what felt like real failure happened in high school. Debilitating injuries derailed my plans to play for a major Division I football powerhouse. I refused, however, to accept that these results were final or to surrender my fate to any other force beyond my own determination. I would not relinquish my power to shape the life I was intent on living.
Failure will be a part of your life—so will adversity. I don’t care what your goal is, whether that’s on the playing field or in the boardroom. If your goal is big enough to sustain you for a lifetime, then there will certainly be times when you fall short. It’s unavoidable.
And that’s not a bad thing. The important thing is that you learn from those experiences, that you allow the fire of failure to galvanize you and make you more resistant to the uncontrollable forces of this life.
Don’t blame others or cry about your circumstances. Just refocus on what you need to do, revise your plan accordingly, and then get back to work. But don’t ever give up.
This is a hard life. I know, but the opportunities it offers are limited only by your faith. Your faith in yourself, your faith to your dreams, and your faith in working harder than anyone else to achieve them.
Looking back now, I can see everything that I learned from my time playing football. It ingrained in me a certain work ethic and a determination to just keep grinding until I achieved my goals. It also taught me that you can pivot and change directions and to adjust your game plan in order to come out a winner.
My dream of succeeding at the highest levels of football evolved into something greater. I decided to compete in the biggest, baddest game there is—business.
About Steve Jones
Steve Jones is CEO of Allied Universal, one of the top security and facility services companies in North America with revenues exceeding $7 billion. He is the author of “No Off Season: The Constant Pursuit of More.”