Last week I was speaking to a VP R&D who I have known for over 20 years.
We were discussing a search that I was working on for him. One of the things that he stressed was that he preferred someone with direct experience in his specific industry segment as opposed to someone coming from outside of the industry.
I thought this was an interesting request especially because he himself had actually made a similar type of transition years ago. I asked him why he was reluctant to hire someone from the outside – especially given the fact that he himself had made the exact same transition.
He replied that his own industry transition had been extremely difficult. No one thought he would make it. (He said that he found out years later that his own co-workers had started an office pool betting that he would not make the transition and be fired. The question to his co-workers wasn’t if he would be fired – it was simply a matter of when.)
So I asked him to what reasons did he attribute his successful transition. Was it a helpful mentor reaching out to him? Was it his co-workers pitching in to show him the ropes?
He simply replied: “I refused to fail.”
He went on to say: “I would stay late – often to 10pm at night. I would work weekends. I knew that I would only get one good nights sleep during the course of a week – on Saturday night – because every other night I was either at work late – or thinking about work. I had decided that failure was not an option and I would do whatever it took to be successful.”
Refusing to fail.
How many of us make that same level of commitment in our own lives? How many of us are willing to “burn the proverbial bridges” and leave no way to turn back when we embark on a new career, new project etc.
Many times it takes that type of drive – that level of commitment to achieve any degree of success in life.
We are powerful when we decide that some goal is so important to us that no matter what we have to do – we will accomplish that goal.
We are powerful when simply refuse to fail.