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Why the Key to Success is Massive Failure

Editor’s Note: Please join us in welcoming Sean Kelly to the LaxAllStars.com! A former two-sport DI athlete at Fairfield University, Kelly has dedicated his life to building better lacrosse athletes, on and off of the field. Sean will be contributing regularly from his state-of-the-art Sports and Mental Preparation Facility in New Jersey where he trains lacrosse players of all ages on a daily basis. Glad to have you in the family, Sean!

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It’s time to ask yourself this question,

What can I do to make this situation better?

Throughout our lives, each of us has to overcome numerous mental barriers that might prevent us from achieving success. Some of them are small and easy to surmount, while others are larger and much more formidable.

Fear of Failure

For me, the biggest mental barrier was the way I thought about failure. I hated the feeling of failure. I viewed having a bad game as being a reflection of who I was as a person.

I viewed failure as the end of the road, as not being good enough. I eventually tried to do everything in my power to control the amount of failure in my life. I was only willing to experience so much pain, sadness, rejection and defeat, and as a result of this, I only experienced so much success, so much joy and so much happiness.

What I didn’t realize is that life is like a pendulum, you will only get the amount of success, joy and happiness on one side as the amount of pain, sadness, and failure you are willing to experience on the other side.

You cannot swing a pendulum one way. It does not work. If we just stand still, yes we won’t experience much failure, pain and rejection, but we also won’t experience much success, joy and happiness.

Fail and Fail BIG

What I now know is that my thinking was totally flawed. Tom Watson, the founder of IBM said it best,

The key to success is massive failure.

So I encourage you to go out and do the following: FAIL! And FAIL BIG!

If you make a concerted effort to really push that pendulum toward the side of failure and you are truly willing to go through that discomfort, then I guarantee you that the pendulum will swing in the opposite direction on the side of success, joy and happiness than you ever thought was possible.

Through my personal experiences, I feel that perseverance is the most important quality a person can possess. Webster’s dictionary defines perseverance as: the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult.

Anyone can perform when things are easy. You have to learn to keep moving towards your goal no matter what obstacles get in the way. In my own life, some of my biggest successes and victories have been preceded by my biggest failures.

Chris Eck’s Key to Success

Chris Eck Team USA vs Australia face off

A great example perseverance in the lacrosse community is Boston Cannon’s face off specialist Chris Eck. When he started his college career at Colgate, Eck tore his ACL during the first half-hour of practice. As if that wasn’t enough, he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes only a month later.

That didn’t stop Chris from becoming the 2008 face-off man of the year and leading Colgate to the Patriot League Championship. Chris was then picked 38th overall in the 2008 draft by the Boston Cannons where he has become one of the top face-off specialists in the world and a 4x MLL All-Star.

In 2014, Chris fulfilled another childhood dream and represented his country at the Federation of International Lacrosse (FIL) World Championship. Chris finished the tournament 3rd in Faceoff percentage winning with 74.7% of the time.

Making the team was a privilege that Eck came close to experiencing in 2010, when he failed to make the final roster.

But, if diabetes and knee surgeries couldn’t slow Chris Eck down, then being cut from a team wasn’t going to do the job either.

For the next four years, Eck wore the same pair of Team USA mesh shorts, the ones he received at the 2010 tryouts, to bed every night so that making the 2014 team was the last thing he thought about before falling asleep and the first thing he thought about when he awoke.

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Awesome! What Now?

Get up and get out of your comfort zone.

Tryout for that travel team that you’re not sure you can make.

Take 1 on 1’s in practice with that All-American Senior that you don’t think anyone can stop.

Try that really hard workout.

Fail and fail often. But, keep pressing forward and learning from each failure. Eventually that pendulum will swing back the other way and you will find great success.

Featured Photo: Craig Chase