One of my favorite quotes revolves around planning. It came from Helmuth Von Moltke, a 19th century German Field Marshall: “No plan survives first contact with the enemy.”1. The implication here is simple enough: the plan that makes total sense on paper quickly falls apart when confronting the entropy of reality. And yet planning is essential for getting a team moving in the right direction. As Dwight Eisenhower said, “I have found that plans are useless but planning is everything.” And thus we arrive at what I like to call the paradox of planning: planning is the act of creating something that is simultaneously infinitely valuable and completely worthless.
Failure is a fact of life. And the more you try to push the boundaries – of your abilities, or your career, or anything else – the higher the probability of failure. There is no inoculation against it. Sooner or later you are going to fall right on your ass. You can’t stop it from happening, but you can control how you respond to it. Here’s my script.