Learn how to use three important as you move forward in your work with an executive coach, to make the most of progress, to handle setbacks most effectively, and to maintain your motivation either way.
- An Ink Magazine article said this about legendary inventor, Thomas Edison, "There's not much you do today that doesn't have "some relaatiship to him." There's 2332 patents worldwide are responsible for every item that uses electricity. He created the movie industry, the recording industry, the X-ray machine and much else. His career gives us a colorful way to remember three important principles as you move forward in your work with an executive coach.
First, score your wins. Edison's wins were easily scored with patents, inventions and revenue. It's different with your development but just as important. Progress toward development goals often comes in small steps others don't notice but it's essential to feel a sense of progress and maintain your motivation. So when things go well, tell your coach, tell your support network. It's not bragging, it's needed both for your morale and for your learning.
Discuss why things went well and how to build on your progress. Edison also gives us a great way to think about the second principle. Add meaning to setbacks. As you try new behaviors and push past your comfort zone, you'll fall short and make mistakes. It doesn't feel good but it's not bad. It's needed too. It's the only way to get from where you are to where you want to be. There are plenty of potholes on the road to growth. Peak performance researcher, Mihaly Csikszentimihalyi said, "Failure is success in progress." He had exemplars like Edison in mind.
When asked about his failure to create the light bulb yet despite years of effort, Edison replied, "I have not failed, I found 10000 ways that don't work." when things don't go how you want, tell your coach and your support network. Learn from setbacks every time and generate new alternatives to try every time. Find meaning in failures so what they mean is you're one step closer. One more story, one more principle. The night of December 10, 1914, a huge explosion in one of Edison's buildings led to a fire that quickly spread across his research facility.
When it was clear nothing could be done to stop the catastrophe, he told his son Charles, "Go get your mother and all her friends, "they'll never see a fire like this again." What's the third principle? Enjoy the journey. Edison teaches us to bring a fuller future perspective into the present. Enjoy the journey during the journey not just after. Making progress and suffering setbacks are necessary to do anything worthwhile. Challenge yourself and challenge your coach to internalize that wins and losses are both to be learned from and come from the same source, trying new things.
Enjoy trying, enjoy the journey. Later at the scene of the factory fire, the 67 year old Edison was quoted, "I'll start all over again tomorrow." He meant it. He began rebuilding the next morning and every employee kept their job. Edison being a role model for the three principles, you won't be surprised that the new facility was even better and eventually yielded a huge net gain. Don't be surprised if after your setbacks, you do that too if you don't wait to act as if it's true.
It is true when you score your wins, add meaning to setbacks, learn from both and enjoy the journey.