We’re not all winners

Alec O'Grady
Oct 30, 2017 · 2 min read

I was a gymnast for 9 years of my life. I remember going to competitions and, obviously, trying my best to achieve my goal. My goal was always to get at least 3 metals. Sometimes, that didn’t pan out so well.

I remember one specific competition where I did pretty average on all my routines except for two. One of them was exceptional, and the other was a total failure. So, I knew I would get at least one metal. I ended up getting 5.

I remember my name being called up for 16th place and was given a metal. It was slightly smaller than the ones that the first place had. I was baffled. I had no idea how I got this metal, and I wasn’t happy about it. I knew that I bombed, so why was I getting rewarded for it?

“We’re all winners here”

After all the awards were handed out, the woman giving them out said, “we’re all winners here”. While it’s a nice thing to say, I didn’t want that metal. I didn’t deserve it, and it made the other one that I got for doing a great job seem less meaningful.

I went to a few other gymnastics competitions that were like this. Ultimately, I didn’t like them. I didn’t want a reward for showing up. I wanted one for performing an excellent job at something I knew how to do.

This last week I was listening to a podcast from Gary Vaynerchuk. Someone asked a question on millennials and this was the advice he gave.

“I think your generation is the best. Did a ton of you got 8th place trophies? Yes, and that’s why it’s most likely harder for you to beat me.” — Gary Vaynerchuk

This really stuck with me. I began to look back at all the failures in my short life. Then, because I didn’t want to dwell on them, I looked at my successes. Those successes were, in some way, a direct result from the failures.

Back in 2014, I interviewed for a Specialist position in the Apple Store. After the interview, I knew I didn’t get it, and I knew exactly where I messed up. Nonetheless, when they didn’t call me, I was disappointed.

In 2015, I went to interview for a different position at Apple. I wasn’t sure what the interview process would be like, but I figured it was probably similar. And it was. This time, I knew how they wanted the questions to be answered and what I could do to help my chances. I got the job 20 minutes after the interview.

Learn from your failures. See what you can gain from them and use them to empower your successes. This will come in handy for me while I’m job hunting!

I hope you enjoyed this article! Consider giving it a few 👏🏻! As always, you can find me on Instagram, Twitter & my website.

Alec O'Grady

UX Designer // Photographer // Filmmaker {Currently in San Francisco}

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