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Learning from Others: Success & Failures

Posted by Ann Egle
Ann Egle
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on Wednesday, 07 March 2012 in Learning from Others: Successes and Failures

Some of you are lifetime learners while others learn by necessity. Contrary to the “You learn from your mistakes” theory in which you were raised, sports science has proven that our greatest learning is from successes and not failures.
Picture a football player watching videos of his successful passes and touchdowns over and over again. What will he think about the next time he goes onto the field? Success!
Now imagine this same player viewing only repeats of his missed passes, other team’s touchdowns. He’ll enter the field with visions of failure and his actions will reflect these thoughts.
Of course it is wise to notice when things don’t work so well and correct the next time, but the true key to success is in acknowledging and learning from yours and other’s accomplishments.
Some of our greatest leaning comes through observing the successes and failures of others. Instead of being jealous or critical, look for the learning. Always look for the learning.
Continually ask yourself:

“What made that effort so successful? How can I improve upon it next time?”
“How did they succeed when others failed? What can I learn from that?”
Below are three examples of how my clients have benefited through learning from others.
Learn from your past:
George grew up in a volatile home where his highly critical father was always angry. Nothing George did ever satisfied his father.
In my experience, children grow up to either emulate their parents or become the exact opposite. George chose the latter. Suffering early agony of constant criticism taught George the importance of: 1) vocal tone, a calm voice invites respect; a loud one reduces the recipient to fight-or-flight, and, 2) acknowledging a person’s strengths and then building upon them.
George’s father gave him a great gift in showing him how not to be.
Learn from today:
Carly cherishes success stories. She especially thrives on superstars in her profession. Carly attends every association conference, makes it a point to meet every speaker with at least one prepared question and learn from authors at book signings. 
Carly’s blend of keen observation, appreciation and curiosity makes it rewarding for mentors, coaches, authors and speakers to educate her.
Through Carly’s persistence in learning and incorporating all that she discovers into her every day actions, she’s the youngest executive in her firm on the road to running it one day.
Learn from reluctance:
Cody was top salesman for his company through working long, long hours. His company brought me in to work with him out of concern that he would ‘burn out’. They received e-mails from him at all hours of the day and night.
At first Cody was quite reluctant, even resentful He was clearly not interested in taking the time to learn a new way of operating. How could he fit one more thing into his day?
We quickly discovered how disorganized he was. Working remotely his boss had no idea that his office had mile high piles of paper and sticky notes everywhere. Cody thought spending hours each day looking for client information was normal.
Once he discovered how much time could be saved through time saving organizational techniques, Cody’s skepticism transitioned into excitement. It was impossible for Cody to learn something new until he opened himself up to the possibility that there could be a better way. 
Cody was recently given a gigantic promotion to cover the entire European territory for his company. Through our work and his newfound openness to learning he can take on this massive task and still have time for his family, sports, friends and travel.
If you think you may not be learning all that you can in order to advance in your profession, I challenge you to select one of these modes of learning. Enjoy all that it will open up for you.
Co-facilitator of OK 26 (with Roger Lee) Master Executive & Leadership Coach Ann Golden Eglé, MCC, has steered highly-successful individuals to attain greater results since 1998. President of Golden Visions & Associates, LLC, Ann can be reached at 541-385-8887 or

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