“Well, I guess the seventh time’s the charm!”
Someone said this in a meeting the other day, and it led to a big chuckle from everyone in the room. The backstory, without getting into too much detail, is that successfully solving for the challenge this business was facing took a few tries. Breaking that down to more simple terms, the successful solution required three things…
When you’re trying to do big things, from launching a new product to growing your organization, you will encounter varying levels of discomfort. Notice that we said you “will” encounter these, not that you “might” encounter them. Stepping into the uncomfortable is where growth begins, and our openness to being uncomfortable dictates how long we’ll stick with something before we tap out. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable leads us to our second point…
All joking aside, if success is going to require us to try something 7+ times, then being persistent is essential. Our level of commitment is what dictates how we react the second or third or fourth time when we encounter another unexpected barrier or result. There are moments, as we’re working toward any big goal, where the temptation to give up rises up. We start asking ourselves if the goal is really worth it, and we question whether a successful solution even exists. It’s in those moments, where we’re tempted to throw in the towel, where success or failure is chosen. It’s in each of those moments where we need to tap into the third success-driver…
Often, we approach a challenge without knowing all the details or barriers we’ll face once we get rolling. Based on what we know at the time, we make assumptions about what’s possible and where our best paths to success exist. Then, as we move through the project, we learn by encountering challenges. Throughout that process, we have to constantly reimagine what’s possible and allow our thinking to evolve. Imagination is the fuel that carries us through. Often, when we reach our goals the final solution looks nothing like the initial options we had explored. Imagination, and open minds, are critical for achieving success.
There’s no silver bullet here. The reality is this… If you’re trying to do big things in any part of your life, professionally or personally, you’re going to have to embrace some discomfort, dig deep into persistence, and embrace imagination. Do that, stick with it, and the seventh time may be the charm.