Here are a few of the things I've learned that may help keep you from learning them through the school of hard knocks.
1. Don't let someone else define you, and don't let rejection derail you. There are thousands of reasons why someone decides their answer is no. You can learn from rejection how to improve and get better at how you ask - whether it's for funding, a contract or a chance to prove yourself. But don't let anyone else's no define you.
2. You may have things fall through, but whenever and however possible, keep your promises. Others will give you a lot more leeway when things do fall apart if they know you've done everything you can to keep a promise you made. Also, don't make promises that hinge on someone else keeping their promise to you. If they lied to you, they will also made a liar out of you - and you don't always get to come back from that.
3. Forgive yourself for the things you get wrong. Learn from mistakes, but don't let your failures become so large in your view of yourself that you lose sight of your gifts and what you've done well. It will prevent you from recovering and continuing to lead with confidence
4. You are the sum of your choices - how you choose to treat others, how you choose to win, why you quit, what you tell yourself, what you choose to value. These choices - as much as anything else - will determine whether you succeed or not and whether you like yourself on the other side of your journey.
5. Don't win by harming others. Competition and friction are great motivators, but playing dirty to get what you want ... you never know when or how that decision will come back to bite you, but it will. If you make playing dirty a habit, it will become your culture.
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