Lessons from the End of the Rope
Your failure-to-success journey is the most interesting thing about you. All successful leaders stumble, fall, and climb out of the ash heap only to be better for it. Flaunt it; don’t hide it. Facades cripple leadership.
Success coupled with frailty is beautifully inviting.
Your transformations represent your greatest ability to transform others. Don’t tell me about arriving; tell me about the journey.
“Leaders are defined, not defeated, by setbacks.”
Setbacks are opportunities for clarity, humility, growth, and wisdom; faced well, they strengthen resolve. I asked Alyse Nelson, author of Vital Voices, about her own setbacks,
“It was hard for me to ask for help. I didn’t realize how much help I needed to start Vital Voices (The organization not the book). I was only twenty-six years old.”
I didn’t ask her about it, but I felt a coming to the end of the rope behind her comment. The end of the rope is life’s turning point.
“So what did you learn? I asked.”
Alyse said, “The turning point in my leadership came when I overcame the need to prove myself. Today, I care more about the success of Vital Voices than my own success.”
The greater our need to prove ourselves
the more reluctant we are to ask for help.
Nelson’s lessons from the end of the rope:
- Admit what you don’t know.
- Seek people who can help.
- Hire highly competent people.
Alyse said, “I was very fortunate to have a strong group of mentors in my life.” She explained how her mentors encouraged her to take risks and stuck with her during setbacks.
While she talked, I thought about the power of standing with people during their struggle rather than retreating to safety. It’s easy to stand with winners. It takes courage, character, and compassion to stand with someone during their dark days.
Bonus: Read and add your comments to “The common mistakes of young leaders ______.” on my Facebook page.
What lessons have you learned from the end of the rope?
I’ve learned most of my lessons from the end of the rope. Only at the end of the rope are you desperate enough to ask questions, learn and grow. Revelations then happen.
The best thing I’ve learned about the end of the rope is that I can survive it. Until we are at the end of the rope, we say and believe things like, “I could never handle that __________ (fill in the blank). Once you’ve swung and clung to the final knot, you ultimately learn you CAN handle it.
That is the ultimate lesson I try and teach my students. “Whatever happens you can handle it.” You are resilient enough and creative enough, You are tenacious. You will find a way. I have complete confidence in you.
That is also the lesson I try and teach myself.
I was 31 when I went into business for the first time. My biggest problem? I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
Your biggest problem was you didn’t know what you didn’t know. Betcha that was also your biggest strength – or you wouldn’t have attempted what you did.
There is always the other side of the coin (le renvers de la médaille).
Thank you Dauna.
Your comment makes me smile. Confidence comes through experience…through enduring through tough times.
I see how your personal transformation is becoming part of your life message that transforms others. Very encouraging.
Great topic. Courage & vulnerability – qualities in a great leader – yet so few have!!
Thank you Margaret. Lets go be bold.
I just love this quote from the movie Maid in Manhattan : To serve people takes dignity and intelligence. But remember, they are only people with money. And although we serve them, we are not their servants. What we do, Miss Ventura, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling.
Thank you Imelda.
I wasn’t sure where your quote was going and then ka pow! Powerful.
Love the movie and your quote.
Bob Hoskins played his part so well ….. a supporting actor who supported people so well in becoming who they had the potential to be ……. sometimes in life we are fortunate to meet individuals like this and it just feels like the movies 🙂
Great read this morning. Thanks for taking the time to bring some positive energy to my day. I too have been defined and refined by my set backs.
Thank God that Failure is an event, not a person
Thank you Donnie.
YOur comment made me think… and failure isn’t final, either. 🙂
failure is a marker, a signpost, where we go from there is up… to us.
I absolutely agree that when we stop thinking to prove ourselves, we start improving. This moves us towards success. Acceptance is the great exercise in the path of success. When you fail there will be others who will pull you down. This makes you more discouraged. So, how to take it. Every one might not have mentors all the time. So, I believe, we need to become our own mentor. And the best way to do this is to strengthen self belief. Besides, we need to add more knowledge and awareness in our mental inventory. I strongly believe that ” Success is not measured by how high you jump, but how high you bounce back after you have hit the bottom.
So, True success is surging ahead beyond circumstances and achieving bigger goals than just a position.
Thank you Ajay.
I thought as I read your comment that I’ve done a lot of bouncing in my life. Perhaps not very high but bouncing none the less.
Thinking back over previous comments you’ve made, your commitment to self-belief is very strong. We’ll never make a difference till we believe we can make a difference.
I appreciate the hint in your last sentence that position isn’t the key factor in finding success. 🙂
From the end of the rope I have learned that life’s greatest lessons are learned there. I have learned more from failure than I ever learned from success.
The end of the rope teaches us the value of dedication and persistence. We learn that shear tenacity is often what sets winners apart from losers.
Thank you Dan.
It may not make the end of the rope easier but knowing or at least hoping that good comes from it definitely helps.
If failure is a great teacher, I should be a genius.
I truly love ur blog. It helps me daily.
Thank you Pink.
Alyse talks about the great value in having mentors in your life and I could not agree more. Find them, treasure them and learn from them. But we should always remind ourselves that we should be mentoring others so they can learn from us. This is our responsibility too!
Mentors… Some true, and valuable
just love this blog Dan….simple….Love it…and appreciate you!
I read your blog often, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. Today I had to take the time to do so. Your words have reminded me so much of what has motivated me through the years — learning and change. When we admit to ourselves what we need to learn, and seek help to gain it, we’re better for it. When we admit to ourselves that we’re different today from who we were yesterday, we’re better for it too.
It seems just when you think you are at the end of your rope, there’s more rope. (why Todd Rundgren’s lyric quote “there’s always more” rings true for me).
End of rope, tipping point, out on a limb, we often don’t realize we are there when we are there and going there/being there can be simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting.
Alyse’s points to be open about your current state and to keep yourself surrounded with (and hiring) wise counsel which can make for spontaneous teamwork where others step up without being asked. The interdependent mutuality of a cohesive team with passion and determination that perseveres through can be inspiring and positively contagious. Which brings me back to another of TR’s lyrics in Determination, “If I go out on a limb,will you meet me half way?”
I have learnt a new lesson at the end of rope every time that I faced during different stages of my life. Setbacks have taught me –
1. Divert mind to altogether a new unfinished goal;
2. Never ever loose faith in the God;
3. Have better patience and persistent sfforts to chase the things what can change your fate;
4. Fight for injustice;
5. Courage to communicate the facts when proven wrong;
6. Move forward with strong dertermination iforgetting the past; and
7. Share the reality situation and its likely impact with a spouse to get good simple ideas to save the situation..
Seeking the help of select good well-wishers is yet another good way to get releived of the setback stress and work on practical solutions at a faster speed.
Great article! I find that I have been at the end of the rope so many times and not realized it, I just make the right decision or consult the right person and move on. You always learn from the experience.
“The common mistakes of young leaders is to think they have arrived once they got a leadership title or position.” I fell into that trap in my first leadership role when I was in high school. And I see a lot of it with the younger leaders now that I am 33.
Awesome topic! I’ve been at “the end of my rope” many times, as most have, but what I’ve finally figured out is that it doesn’t mean “that’s it, there’s no more, finished…” I’ve chosen to look at it with a new perspective, which has enabled me to learn vs burn from it! (rope burn can hurt!!)
I can either stay where I’m at (a rope with no knot) OR I can change the things I am responsible for (jump to a new rope with a knot) and successfully steer myself (me, not necessarily the situation) into a new position for new growth and opportunity. Thanks again!
Great post. I completely agree. We all need to turn to someone for help or else it will just drive you crazy.
“The greater our need to prove ourselves
the more reluctant we are to ask for help. ”
– I’m in the middle of a setback. This couldn’t have had better timing. Thanks.
Though we think sharing our failures will cause others to look down on us or think that we’re weak or unqualified, history proves that it actually endears us to others. We all know that we are imperfect (though we try to hide it) and when someone else who looks like they have it together shares that they don’t, we realize that we aren’t alone! Thanks for this post.
Thanks for sharing this article – great read. Adversity certainly brings out ones core flight or fight and truly adaptable and diverse individuals will excel and prevail. I would recommend signing up for Leadership Freak articles. they are always insightful and a quick read.
Thanks for sharing nice post
Opportunity often presents itself when you least expect it. Sometimes you have to hit the bottom to see a new way up. This is a really great article. Thanks for sharing!
Reblogged this on For your mind & future only.
First off, I love the title of this post; it really grabbed my attention! Second, failures happen to the best of us. Yet no matter what events or circumstances we face, it’s important to embrace this major key to success: E+R=O (events plus our RESPONSE equal our outcome). The one thing we control in this equation is our RESPONSE, and our response is what can turn a setback into a comeback. Thanks for posting, Dan!