I was watching the local news last night and my favorite station was debuting a new meteorologist. Just for background, I live in a smallish city, so we seem to be the testing ground for all new and untested TV personalities.
This poor guy was so bad, tripped over his words so often, and had so many awkward pauses that I turned the channel. Not because I was upset that I couldn’t figure out what the weather was supposed to be…but because I was terribly uncomfortable for the guy. Then I forced myself to turn back, because we’ve all been there. We’ve all been new. We’ve all been driving the struggle bus. We’ve all failed.
It’s not that he didn’t know his weather-man stuff, I’m sure he does! His trouble wasn’t with knowledge, it was with speaking actual words. But lest you think I’m making fun of his failure, I most certainly am not. I’ve got a story of epic failure, too…as I’m sure most coaches worth their salt do.
Dawn’s story of new-coach failure
My first coaching gig was with a club team. I was super organized. The team was well-prepared. I’d done all the appropriate teaching, motivating, and leading. We were ready! As the team did our warmup (that I’d stolen from some of the best and most successful teams), the official came over and handed me a lineup sheet.
I’d never seen one before. So I wrote down the six numbers of the people who were going to be starting.
When he did the obligatory check at the beginning of the game, he came over and said everyone was in the wrong place. I had to use, like, six substitutions just to be able to start the game with the correct lineup. The team was looking at me like, “what’s going on?” and I’m sure I had some stupid look on my face.
I couldn’t even think about coaching the team, because I was mortified at my mistake and my lack of knowledge. But I did keep coaching that team and many teams after it. That horrific mess of coaching was seventeen years ago.
Moral of the story
You’re going to screw up. It’s pretty much guaranteed. The only thing you don’t know is how that failure will present itself. It could be like my poor meteorologist who couldn’t do the basics of human communication or like myself, who thought I had all of my I’s dotted and T’s crossed…only to get tripped up by a simple lineup sheet.
Sometimes failure is the only way to learn. I can assure you that even to this day, I triple check my lineup sheet to make sure it’s correct. Beyond that, we learn that we’ll live through the embarrassment of failure. We learn that failure isn’t the worst thing in the world.
Michael Jordan said, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that’s why I succeed”…wise words.