Confidence Through Setbacks
Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Life comes with obstacles and setbacks. Nothing of significance can be achieved without risk and occasional failure. Show me one successful leader who has never experienced a setback or faced significant challenges. Can you think of even one? I can’t. Why? Because they do not exist. If so, it is only a myth created for an article, a book, or a movie.

Setbacks and challenges are necessary to build skills and confidence. With that confidence, you also need to know you might fall short, however, it will be neither fatal nor final. It will be a temporary setback or challenge that will offer lessons and a way forward. The price of success is failure without giving up. I could rattle off dozens of successful people I know who have weathered setbacks. In fact, if you haven’t yet had one then you have not taken enough risks. You probably have not challenged yourself enough yet. Tough situations should try our skills and our patience. They should cause us to scratch our heads for answers. They must put us to the test – day in and day out. These are the situations that breed character and confidence.

Also, we gain confidence when we reach out to others for assistance. There are no solo successes. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. We all need a team to win. Again, beware of anyone who says they have done it all alone. They haven’t. And, what is worse, they fail to see how countless others have enabled them to be successful. We need community and teams. We need the collective insights and grit of others to gain breakthroughs and achievements.

In my own life, I have seen this time and time again. Just when I am lost or unsure, the answer from another appears. If I can truly listen, and get my ego out of the way, I find what I need for the effort. The answer has never failed to appear if I will only display humility and confidence. Some call it luck. I call it Grace. Whatever you call it, look for it and count on it if you surround yourself with others. Answers are everywhere to our most pressing challenges.

Let me give you an example. Two years ago I was open to writing a book. I went to a conference and one of the presenters, Gabrielle Bosché, who at the time was 28, had written two books. I approached her to tell her how much I enjoyed her presentation. I also commented on how impressed I was that she had written two books already. Then, I took the risk to say that I wanted to write a book. She smiled and then told me I should talk to her husband, Brian, who helps people write books. I took the chance and called Brian. Six months later I was an author of my first book. I am still amazed by this sequence. And, it has done more for me than just writing one book. My second book will be out this year.

I became an author all because I asked for help, learned from others, and persisted in following through. I attained the confidence to proceed. You can too. Do you seek challenges that are greater than your own abilities? Can you work through setbacks until you find success? Do you look for others who are willing to help you succeed? Are you willing to help others when they are in need of assistance or insights? You can gain greater success and confidence if you struggle through challenges, help others, and look for their help. Enjoy the journey to great outcomes!