“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” -Winston Churchill “Remember when you wanted what you currently have.” -Anonymous
The end of 2021 comes with great reflection over a year filled with wins and losses, lessons learned, lots of joy and sadness, success, and a few failures. And while I talked about failing forward last week, I am going to do something I don’t often do and celebrate success.
Over 2021, I’ve talked about grit, optimism, problem-solving, mentorship, mission and meaning. I’ve talked about a “get to” versus a “got to” attitude and “planning & prioritizing.” I’ve even talked about vacations a few times…but the thread that ties all these topics together is leadership. And most of the time, I am writing reflections on how I can do things better or areas I’m striving to improve. I’m writing to you in hopes that we inspire you to think about your leadership roles – at work, at home or in the community.
If you are like me, win or lose, we keep moving forward. We try to learn from our failures and our success. As Chris Earle said, we strive to be “humble in victory and gracious in defeat.” We remind ourselves, “you’re never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you’re next as bad as they say when you lose,” as said by Lou Holtz. In short, we try to remain even-keeled and balanced and keep looking at the horizon.
But can we really be happy if we don’t enjoy the journey? If we don’t celebrate the wins? If we don’t reflect on progress?
We have 25-year visions and 10-year plans, but for the next two weeks, I will reflect on how far we have come as a team and a company and how far I’ve come as an individual. I’m going to celebrate the wins of the year!
New employees, business growth, better system, new clients, new adjacent possibles, new partners, the launch of MCFA University, Inspiring People & Places podcast and the official launch of the Friendly Strife Foundation (more info coming soon). There is plenty of work to build and improve upon, but we reflect and rejoice for now. We measure the gain, not the gap.
Why celebrate? Because as Oprah said, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” And as leaders, we want our employees to celebrate their successes. And the only way we do that is by doing it ourselves.
To our MCFA team – it’s been a great year. Thank you for entrusting us with your professional career. Thank you for everything you do to represent our company to our clients and help them plan, develop and execute projects and solve problems.
To our partners and clients (past, current and future – that’s YOU!) – we value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in the year to come.
We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday Season and a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2022! May this season be a time of joy, peace, reflection and hope!
“Traditional parting words is wishing a shipmate ‘Fair winds and following seas,’ but I want to wish you the opposite, ‘Howling winds and stormy seas,’ because those are the conditions that will make you a better sailor and officer.” -General James Mattis Commencement Address to Naval Academy Prep School Class of 2006
It’s Army/Navy week, so before game day, I thought I would give a shout-out to all of our Naval Academy friends with a quote from General Mattis that I heard him say at the Naval Academy Prep School many moons ago.
I sat in on a leadership conference this week, and John Maxwell was the keynote speaker. As usual, he was full of knowledge with an entertaining delivery. The topic that hit me most was “Return on Failure.”
In this email blast, we have talked about Return on Investment, Infrastructure, Time and Attention. This was the first time I’ve heard the phrase “return on failure.” The concept is straightforward – what has your return on failure been? How have you gotten better from your failures?
We all strive to win and not have projects go off track. We think there is some magic smooth road to success in life, but no one has ever grown from an easy path. You have to take the losses, the punches in the face or the gut, the “oh $hit!” and “gosh darn it’s” to grow. In short, if you aren’t failing, you aren’t growing.
December is a month of reflection. How did your year go? What is your return on failure this year? What did you set out to accomplish? How did you do? Are you saying the same thing to yourself as last year? Then you may not be getting any return on your failure.
If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.
What can you change? What lessons did you learn? Did you take too many risks? Did you over-commit? Or did you not challenge yourself enough?
Either way, I am cheering for you to step up in 2022. Challenge yourself to take on a little more than you think you can…stretch and fail! But fail fast, so you can learn and increase your ROF. It’s the fastest way to grow!