I’m a big advocate of learning from your mistakes. The idea that your ‘failures’ are part of the journey to success, is a concept that many people don’t embrace. More often than not, the people I meet see failure as a set-back or a road block to achieving their goals. One of the stories that I like to share begins, like all my failures, with a passionate idea…
It was a beautiful, clear fall day and the plan was simple – Leave L.A. on Halloween and arrive in Baltimore on Thanksgiving. Gazing over my newly purchased Yamaha Virago motorcycle, I felt confident. Despite its high mileage, it wasn’t a bad bike. It started pretty easily and sounded ferocious. As far as I was concerned, it was going to do the trick.
Perched precariously on the backseat was my friend, Rod. The fact that this was his first time on a motorcycle did not seem to faze him. He was just as psyched about the trip as I was. A couple of hours before we planned on leaving; I took him on a few laps around the neighborhood to get him acclimated.
My faith was now not only in the bike lasting the 3,300 mile trip, but in my friend. He had two responsibilities – first, to make sure he leaned when I leaned, and second, to keep an eye out for gas stations. Now erase any images of Easy Rider out of your head….because besides me sporting Dennis Hopper’s hair style…our adventure was to be PG. As such, the trip began calmly with Rod and me riding north out of L.A. toward Barstow, CA. Ominously, with only 20 miles of our cross country trip behind us, the hot Santa Ana winds began circling and rising in full force around our tiny bike. The wind became so vicious, kicking-up sand, trash, and dirt that trucks and buses were pulling off the road. Pressing on, wobbling by the immobile vehicles along the shoulder, and committed to the road ahead, Rod and I leaned sideways cutting the wind in two. This confirmed that Rod was focused on his first responsibility.
We rode unbending for 30 minutes more until the infamous wind died down. Finding ourselves on route 40, I glanced back to see how Rod was doing – he was grinning from ear to ear. Yelling over the roar of the bike, I instructed him that we needed to think about getting gas in about an hour or so. As the road opened up before us I settled into the cruise zone…and so did Rod. An hour or more must have gone by when I noticed a large blue sign that read, “Gas – 60 Miles Ahead.” As the desert quickly expanded around us, my heart sunk. There was no way we were going to make it to the next stop.
I bet you are wondering how we got out of this one. Nevertheless before I answer with another riveting post, I have to ask you this question: How do you turn a teammate’s failure into an opportunity for growth?
Think about it and let me know your thoughts.