How I Succeeded by Failing in 2018

Progress towards a goal can be measured in different, unexpected ways.

On December 31, 2017, some of us sat for dinner at a friend's home and shared our New Year's resolutions; mine was to lengthen the duration of my daily meditations. Today, a year later, I assessed myself. Was I successful in keeping my New Year's resolution?

Sadly, the answer was no.

This was a very productive year for me and for Mentora. But the growing demands on my time made it a challenge to grow the length of my daily meditations. I was feeling somewhat despondent at this failure when a thought flashed in my mind: "This year, you may not have put more moments in your meditation, but you did in fact put more meditation in your moments."

That gave me pause. I reflected. And then I realized: This is in fact quite true. There was a strong yearning I felt throughout the year to lengthen my meditations, and whenever my efforts were thwarted on a given day, it led me to strive harder to bring a meditation-like focus to all other activities I pursued that day. As a result, I felt a subtle but tangible growth in my mental alertness and joyful engagement during the year, and in the alignment between my everyday intentions and thoughts, my everyday thoughts and words, and my everyday words and actions. My highest potential may still be countless miles away, but I do feel a few inches closer.

This does not do away with the imperative of increasing the duration of my daily meditations, but it does add a complementary aspiration we can all take on when cultivating a personal leadership strength. Often, in pursuing growth, we confine ourselves to doing better in crucial moments: being resilient in adversity, speaking with impact when we are presenting to an audience, inspiring our team when they are not bought into the vision, strengthening trust with key stakeholders, or staying cool under fire. But it is also of great value to put our life under a microscope and examine how many of our everyday moments are being infused with this same striving. Are we, in these casual settings, practicing resilience? Speaking with impact? Inspiring others? Fostering trust? Staying cool?

So perhaps there is a new metric we can all use to assess our progress on whatever goal we set for ourselves. Not about how many moments of greatness we have practiced, but how much greatness we have practiced in our moments.

So that is my wish for you in the year ahead, drawn from the silver lining I found from my own cloudy conditions for growth in 2018. That, in your everyday moments, you cultivate an increasingly greater connection with your goal, whatever it may be--to increase your presence, intention, creativity, resilience, purpose, openness, joy, or compassion. It may be one small step for you, but if we all strive to do this for ourselves, what a giant leap this will be for humanity at this momentous time in history.

With prayers and best wishes for your leadership journey in 2019.

This article was originally published in Inc Magazine.