Determination in the Face of Failure Leads to Success

Recognize This! – Success sometimes requires single-minded determination to overcome past failures and ongoing obstacles.

I am working in our US offices this week and was fascinated to read and hear several news stories about Diana Nyad and her record-setting swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida. That’s 110 miles (177 kilometers) in just under 53 hours. Though the distance conquered itself is astounding, there is far more to this story that is even more amazing:

  1. Ms. Nyad is 64 years old, an age when many are contemplating a relaxing retirement.
  2. She had failed at the same swim repeatedly, beginning with her first attempt at age 28.
  3. She had quit swimming for 30 years before returning to train for this final attempt.
  4. She was physically ill the entire swim, unable to keep down nourishment or water.

One article about Ms. Nyad’s achievement highlighted the mental focus and determination needed to complete the swim under such conditions. To not give up, knowing the difficulty of succeeding. To continue to push her body forward without the nourishment to provide energy to do so.

While I’ve written before on the importance of recognizing and rewarding failure as critical step on the path to ultimate success, I cannot ignore the importance of determination in overcoming failure to focus on the goal and find that success. Indeed, “determination” is one of our four core values at Globoforce and, I believe, a key component in our success as an organization.

Is determination praised and appreciated in your organization? Is that attitude of “forging ahead in the face of difficult circumstances or past failures” encouraged or devalued? What’s your story of determination to overcome all odds?

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

One Response

  1. Bob Bennett says:

    You are not going to overcome every roadblock on the first try. But dedication and perseverance matter so much more than figuring it out on the first pass. You have to acknowledge when an employee keeps at something and won’t accept defeat.

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