Failure brings greater notoriety and legacy than success ever could. General Robert E. Lee led a failed revolt and yet is held as one of America’s greatest icons. We honor soldiers with the Medal of Honor in some cases posthumously, for their ultimate sacrifice, despite the fact that it is every parent’s dream they return home alive.
I’ve locked horns with the best of them and gotten whooped time and time again. I’ve dealt with character assassination, insubordination, corrupt individuals promoted above me, and HR directors that refused to enforce standards. But they are still talking about me despite the fact I left the organization years ago.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself”. And that’s why they remember me, because I brought joy. Whatever the end result was, everyone knew that we had done our best, that we had pushed the envelope, and had no regrets.
Poor judgment born from human frailties is what leads us to good judgment. I can’t say that all the times I fought the “law” I was right in my assumptions. Sometimes I let my emotions get in the way, sometimes I expected things to change too rapidly, but until you do it the “wrong” way, you’ll never know how to do it the “right” way.
So be thankful for the times you get kicked to the curb. If your actions were motivated by a sense of increasing the value of the people in the organization, you should wear your battle scars with pride. If you’re one of the few who fights for what’s right, you’ll be the stuff of water cooler talk long after you’re gone.