This is not as much a story about failure as it is about success. Admittedly, writing a story about failure is not must-see TV, but I think you'll agree after you've read the column that this is really a story about success. We are just looking at success from a unique and very real vantage point.

Success and failure are two sides of the same gambling chip. One person's success comes at the expense of the failure of another. Also true is one person's success and all its comfort is viewed as failure and missing the mark by another person.

This is the paradox of gambling and yet, oddly enough, it parallels success in life, business and sales.

You worked hard to build a book of business. You care for your clients. Congratulations! You gambled on a few prospects and did well, or so you think.

Yet, you have moments of self-doubt. You look at your work with contempt. Why do we have thoughts of failure in the face of success? Maybe your manager views your achievement with disdain. You fail to meet expectations.

The manager at your competition knows your talent and achievements. He views you as a great success. You are highly desirable and he would love to gamble on you. Which manager is correct?

The right answer is all of the above. You, my friend, need perspective on success and failure in your sales and/or management career and life.


Truths that transform

Here are truths to consider that will serve your career well and enhance your personal well-being.

* You and I succeed and fail at different times.

* For your own well-being, you must instill in your mind that you are successful even in failure. Look at your achievements against benchmarks realistically, otherwise you won't sell.

* Do not let someone else's words damage your self-confidence or self-esteem. Words are not an objective measure of success or failure. Tell yourself this every day, otherwise you won't sell.

* Psych yourself up as a winner because the exercise will prepare your attitudes, thought life and countenance for success.

* Do not let success go to your head, or you will become arrogant and conceited and set yourself up for failure.

* Desire success in all you do. Success is like a candle; it dispels darkness, in this case that darkness is failure.

Now, let us talk about the failure we all experience and the important lessons we should cherish from failure.

First, failure means you're doing something. You are in motion. Learn the wonderful lessons that failure offers. Show me a successful person and I'll show you a person who has had multiple and in some cases colossal failures.

Don't be down about failure; embrace it like gold. It is a life lesson for your own good. If you fail to fail, you'll have no measure of the extent of your success.

As a producer at the tip of the spear, learn these lessons and guard your heart. We all have an opportunity to succeed. Success starts in your head. Throw your gambling chip on this table and watch how your success takes off. OK, get up from the couch; this session is over.

Davidson, CEBS, is founder of Davidson Marketing Group and FutureOffice Network. He is also on the faculty at the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. Reach him at

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