Strong Foundations

James Dyson

James Dyson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you may recognise there is a theme of ‘confidence’ running through many of the posts this year.  That’s not a surprise, as I happen to think we all benefit from confidence, which stems from receiving empathic and effective parenting as young people .

It is certainly easy to recognise the quality of stick-to-it-ness that confident people and groups have.  As confidence coach Pam Lidford says,  deficits in this area only show up when there is a temporary loss of the ability to ‘take calculated risks’.  Pam’s site is well worth a look  by the way

In the context of confidence I blogged about G4S last year.  In hindsight the organisation was over-confident that their standard recruitment system could deliver exceptional results in hiring Olympic security staff before the 2012 Games.

I also mentioned Sir James Dyson, who displayed the appropriate level of confidence in knowing that his revolutionary vacuum cleaner design would, eventually, work.

I recently considered how the young mobile phone app designer, Nick D’Aloisio, has the right amount of it to have successfully created and sold on Summly before the age of 20.

So it is no surprise to note that University of Warwick research relates to confidence, in the context of the effects of overprotective parenting.   The research is based on the characteristics of children who are bullied and the BBC coverage notes Prof Dieter Wolke saying:

Parenting that includes clear rules about behaviour while being supportive and emotionally warm is most likely to prevent victimisation.”

I wonder if more coaching for parents is a partial solution.  If parents can be supported in  encouraging their children to grow into confident young people (who feel adequately nurtured and emotionally secure) they may be less likely to grow up as bullies, or as those who face bullying.  Who knows, less anti social behaviour and aggression might result too.

An added pay off down the road would be a more resilient generation, better equipped to deal with the challenges that get thrown at them later in life.   If a fraction of that was the case it would be a good result simply from coaching interventions.

The BBC’s coverage of the story follows:

What Does Failure Look Like (And How Can It Lead To Success)?

I wrote a post about success a short while ago.  The context there was the Federer vs Murray Wimbledon tennis final and the significant achievement of a British player almost winning the Championship’s singles trophy.

James Dyson

James Dyson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think it is worth spending a few moments thinking about the lessons that not being successful can offer.  My view would be, to paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘What does not kill you makes you stronger.’

Funnily enough I was talking about the principle of if-at-first-you-don’t-succeed with the owner / manager of a take-away restaurant recently.

We were speaking days after Spain won the Euro 2012 tournament.  England’s performance was dogged, Group A winning, but not ultimately successful.  It suggested there was room for improvement.

I think the take-away manager and I decided that in the UK failure often brought out a response of, ‘Well what did you expect?’ or perhaps, ‘It isn’t worth trying again”.

In the US and elsewhere the attitude is more “Hey never mind.  I know it didn’t work out, but what are you going to try next?”

So there’s the background.  It can take a lot of self-belief to miss a goal and use the experience to improve.

Here’s an article exploring these themes further, written by the entrepreneur and inventor Sir James Dyson.  I can’t find fault with his observation that “Success takes time, patience and perseverance”.

Thinking more broadly there are parallels to performance in the sporting world too.  Here are some thoughts about what it takes to reach the Gold medal standard.

I like Track Cyclist Victoria Pendleton ‘s comment that, learning lessons from not reaching a goal, entails “having a robust self-esteem with an identity that is not too defined by performance results so [you] can maintain [your] emotional stability and work out how to improve.”

Which sounds a lot like Sir James Dyson’s reflection, “Failure is painful, but it spurs on improvement like nothing else.”

I think those are timely insights for Athletes, Innovators, or Regular Folk like the rest of us.