Embracing failure

I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. I time my goals to align with my own particular wants in life… and sometimes miss the target.

A costly example occurred today, 1st January 2022.

4 weeks ago, I decided to lose weight. Not the best time to do so… what with Christmas on the horizon… but that was the goal.

But how do we keep ourselves accountable when nobody is looking? Well, I have a few habits. The one I’m going to tell you about today involves putting your money where your mouth is. It goes like this:

  1. I decide how important it is for me to achieve this goal and I set a deadline.
  2. I decide on a monetary value that would hurt, but not cripple me, should I fail.
  3. I write a cheque for this amount and make it payable to an organisation I truly abhor.
  4. I hand that cheque to a trusted person who will hold it and… importantly… post it to the organisation if I fail to achieve my goal.

And that’s how I approached my weight loss goal. The image of a cheque you see above is the real cheque my wife posted to a particularly (in my mind, at least) abhorrent organisation today. The payee and security details are redacted for reasons I trust are obvious.

What was my goal?

To drop my weight from 81.8Kg to 75Kg or less by 1st January 2022.

Now, before going any further… an important disclaimer; I’m not a doctor, nutritionist or financial adviser and I’m not playing one on the internet – so there’s no medical or financial planning advice in here whatsoever. I’m just telling you a true story.

My history indicated the goal was achievable. I chose the goal and deadline. I chose a self-inflicted penalty that meant something to me. I chose an organisation I truly did not want to give that financial penalty to, which is probably the most important part. And I wrote the cheque.

And I lost.

Disappointed, but not bitter. The cheque went in the post and I’ve begun assessing the data and processes that gave me the undesired, but honest, result. So next time… next time I’ll be better prepared. And that’s all we can do with failure. Embrace it. Honestly assess what went wrong and use that assessment to make better judgement calls in future.

I’m not about to suggest you take any particular goal to aim for, but whatever you decide… this way of being self-accountable is one I highly recommend. You won’t win every time, but I haven’t found a better way yet to keep focussed on a target. If you choose to use it; good luck. If you have another method of achieving your targets, or if you would like help achieving your Business Agility objectives, I’d be happy to hear from you at frontdoor@crackagile.com.


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