Last Thursday was the beginning of another season of American Football. All eyes were on the rookie Running Back Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs to see how he would perform. Drafted 22nd overall this year and with the more senior running back getting injured in the preseason, the expectations were for the new guy. On his first opportunity with the ball, he fumbled it.
So how did it end? He went on the set a record for first game performance! How did he get there from such a rough start? My take is that he had these three things going for him.
1) Fail back on your training
I once heard the wise and successful Michael Port say that, "You never raise to the occasion, you fall back on your training." Your best laid plans will all go to hell when they come into contact with reality. When that happens you can't just hope that you'll magically be able to perform better than you ever have before. Instead, you should be preparing to handle when things go wrong.
At the moment of failure, you might doubt how much you know or your skills, but you're just as skilled and knowledgeable as before your mistake. Kareem Hunt has been training for years in high school , college, and professional training camp so that his body can respond quickly without having to think too much. That allows him to move forward without having to start over.
2) Have a good coach
Kareem's head coach is Andy Reid. Over the years, he has gained a reputation for training some of the best running backs in the NFL. Many of his former protégées have gone on to productive Football careers. His advice for the rookie after his mishap? Don't let it get to your head. Then he put him back on the field to try again.
Such a coach can help you get back on track when things go amiss. An encouraging word from a good coach eases the sting of failure.
3) Take action quickly
Kareem Hunt didn't sit out for half the game pondering his setback and listing all the things he'd do to prevent it from happening again. He went back to work on the next available opportunity. He had the training to know what to do and a supportive coach to guide and encourage him. The only thing left was to leverage those benefits into meaningful action. Nothing erases failure like accumulating success.
Depending on how hard the failure is, a break for reflection and self-care might be necessary but usually getting back on the horse quickly is better. If that seems to hard, then take smaller steps now and work your way back. (Baby steps as Bill Murray might say)
1) Train or practice to better prepare you to deal with future setbacks
2) Get a good coach who can get you through tough times
3) Learn from your mistake and don't wait to get back into action.
Failure is intimidating, but you're too good to let that stop you from being awesome. Try, try again. I believe in you.