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Friday, July 22, 2011

Lean Quote: It's About The Journey and Sometimes It Starts With Failure

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Success is not just the crowning moment, the spiking of the ball in the end zone or the raising of the flag on the summit. It is the whole process of reaching for a goal and, sometimes, it begins with failure." — Erik Weihenmayer; blind climber, motivational speaker, author

Ever hear of Erik Weihenmyer? Despite losing his vision at the age of 13, Erik Weihenmayer has become one of the celebrated and accomplished athletes in the world. On May 25, 2001, Erik reached the top of Everest and stood at 29,035 feet. He was the first blind person to summit Everest. At the age of 34, Erik became one of less than 100 individuals to climb all of the Seven Summits - the highest peaks on each of the seven continents. He completed this incredible accomplishment on September 5, 2002 when he stood on top of Mt. Kosciusko in Australia. Pretty amazing, don’t you think? We know for a fact that Erik “saw” the goal in his mind and in his heart – we know this because he is blind!

Erik is an example of not accepting failure or letting his challenges get the best of him. Failure is not shameful. On the contrary, it is part of the learning process.  It helps us discover things we couldn’t discover otherwise. For instance, we set a goal and we take steps to achieve the goal. If we reach the goal, we’ve succeeded. If we stopped taking the steps we needed to take to achieve the goal then we failed because we’re quitters, something to be ashamed of. If we take all of the necessary steps and still don’t achieve the goal then we failed because we couldn’t make it happen, and we feel ashamed. Most successes will be preceded by a series attempts that didn’t quite produce the results we were hoping for.

Here are some other examples of people who stayed the course and never gave up:

If we allow ourselves to become discouraged during the learning process we may give up right before we reach our goal. Anytime we learn from our efforts we are in the process of succeeding. Each lesson brings us closer to our intended result.

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