Who Says You Get One Shot?

Rick BarryHow many times have you been told there is only one chance….so don’t screw it up. If you’re like me, most likely you end up in a nervous state, which is counter-intuitive for reaching success. Does this attitude build self-confidence or can be considered motivational? I’ll let you answer this question yourself.

So you get to that one-chance moment, and there are three possible outcomes:

  • Success – Most likely, you have a sense of relief. Best case, you have a sense of satisfaction, illusory as it might be.
  • Failure – This state leads to distress in the best case, depression in the worst.
  • Inconclusive – Here we prove the premise was false to begin with. This does not stop us from playing the make or break game in the future though.

These situations lead me to the ultimate question. Why do we repeatedly keep insisting there is only once chance of reaching a successful outcome? There are openly some natural conclusions one can reach from such thinking:

  • Poor Risk Management – If we continuously insist on flawless execution, we apparently insist on taking on, very often, unnecessary risks.
  • We can’t know everything, so why do we keep trying? Believe it or not, we can mitigate the unknown unknowns. It’s all a question of approach.
  • We can only influence outcomes – I ask you, why do we keep trying to control which is uncontrollable?

We do things a certain way because it is the way it’s always been done. They may be rational, but is certainly not cognitive. In spite of what many believe, habits are routine. The fact is, either on a micro (your own actions) or on a macro (organizational) level, routines can be changed. Why can’t we build routines where you are no longer confronted with such all or nothing scenarios?

  • Evolutionary, not revolutionary – If we simply accept that we base many of our decisions on assumptions, then why don’t we take a step back and validate them first and define next actions from there? We can’t know what we can’t know, so just accept it and concentrate first on what you know.
  • When we start only with what we know and build our approach in small, more efficient steps, our chances of a positive outcome are greatly increased.
  • Mistakes are normal, so let’s first try to minimize the risk of such mishaps. If you make a small mistake, it is easier to correct than a big one, so why don’t we try to keep our mistakes small?
  • Build mechanisms that allow you to measure progress more effectively. If you know you are going to make mistakes, you want to identify them quicker, right. Small mistakes that remain unresolved become big ones through time.

I may not always succeed, but I try to follow this approach as much as I can and advise you to give it a try. You might surprise yourself with the results….

About the author: Michael Boyle
Michael Boyle
There is nothing that gives me more pleasure than to see people and organizations reach their full potential.