If at first you don’t succeed…

“Gotta run a little faster, gotta reach for the sky, gotta come a little closer, even if I lose, I gotta try…”

— Kansas, “Inside Of Me”

I will confess that the song lyric above is one of my favorites, and probably one of my most overused quoted lyrics.  It isn’t the first time I’ve quoted it to start a ‘blog article, and it likely won’t be the last.  I’ll admit a level of bias because it comes from my favorite band, but the lyric also talks to me in a way that few do.  I came across a couple of things today that reminded me (again) of this lyric.

First, I received an email that I had been turned down for a speaker’s program, sponsored by my fraternity, to which I had applied.  Not a piece of news that I wanted to hear, but I took it in stride.  I saw something that interested me, I thought I’d be a good fit, and I gave it a shot.

(I should note that, as part of the application process, I recorded a presentation video of myself doing a “lightning talk” that I entitled “Why you need to be on LinkedIn.”  I wanted to wait until I’d heard about my application decision before making this video more publically available.  I’m posting the link here for all of you to enjoy — or trash, whatever the case may be!  I realize that the audio quality is not that great; I apologize in advance for that.)

(I should also note that I replied to the email, thanking them for considering me, and to ask for feedback as to what I could’ve done better.  As I’ve written before, feedback is always important if you want to get better.)

Second, I came across this article that talks about tomorrow night’s basketball game: Syracuse vs. Cornell, or as I refer to it, the “Boeheim Family Reunion.”  (For the benefit of those of you who are clueless about college basketball, Jim Boeheim is the Syracuse men’s basketball head coach, his younger son, Jack “Buddy” Boeheim, is a freshman on the Syracuse team, and his older son, Jimmy, is a sophomore playing for Cornell.)

What I wanted to note about the article was a quote from the family patriarch.  Some background info: the Boeheim men are notoriously competitive, a central point of the article.  The article mentions: “Jimmy talks about the endless games of Candyland they played against their dad, the loser always demanding a rematch. Jim Boeheim never let the boys win. Victories needed to be earned or what was the point of competing?”

It got me thinking that these were a metaphor for one’s career and life in general.  Your career and your quality of life are often competitive, sometimes even cutthroat.  You have a choice: either forget about the entire thing, or give it another shot.  In regards to the former, I ask a question: how important is it to you?  If it isn’t important, not worth your while, or it isn’t a big deal, then give it up and move on to whatever is next.  But if it is important, then it’s up to you to get off the mat and keep fighting.

It’s one of the ideals that keeps CrossFitters going.  It’s about getting better.  Granted, I’ll likely never get to the level where I’ll be competing against Mat Fraser, but as long as it’s possible for me to improve (which is the case in just about anything and everything I do), I’m going to keep going.

In regard to the speaker’s program, being accepted would’ve been a nice boost to my speaking endeavor and potentially my career.  But if I wasn’t accepted?  No biggie.  Hey, I came, I saw, and I gave it a shot.  C’est la vie.  All I can do is learn from it and take another crack at it when (or if) another such opportunity comes around again.  I can sleep at night knowing that, at the very least, I tried.

I’ll stop short of quoting the infinite number of clichés, memes, or articles (to which I’m adding yet another by writing this) about picking yourself up and trying again.  All I’ll say is that they’re true.  Just keep going.  If at first you don’t succeed…