Embracing Failure

I teach tennis at Hogwarts.

I wish I taught Quidditch, but then I run the risk of being bewitched. Ok, it’s not Hogwarts, but Oaklawn Academy is a little bit magical.

I teach 13-14 year old kids from Latin America. Bisante is ranked #13 in Chile. Mauricio is better than Bisante. Eduardo and Marcos and Oliver and Jose and Usbaldo and Alberto and Alberto all follow suit. And they can all hit the ball hard.

Today, there were only three of them. So I stepped in for a game of doubles. And I was a good match for them. 6 years older and stronger, I could hold my own. Marcos and I lost to Mauricio and Bisante in a match tiebreak.

I hate losing when I’m not playing well. Actually, I don’t enjoy winning when I’m not playing well either. It’s just not satisfying.

But I don’t mind losing when I’m playing well. I actually enjoy it. It means that I haven’t reached perfection yet. It means that there is still work to be done. It means that I still have a reason to keep going.

Fist pumpingI teach my students to fist pump every time they hit a ball in the net, or when they don’t finish their swing and the ball hits the fence. They look at me strangely. Maybe because they don’t know what a fist pump is, or maybe because no one’s ever told them to be happy for making mistakes.

At the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board meeting yesterday, one of committee members spotted a typo on the UWW CEO website. The website said that entrepreneurial spirit is the “refusal of failure”. The board member asked cutely:

Shouldn’t it be ‘the embrace of failure?’