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Business + Management: Marty Mcghie

How to Turn Your Failures into Added Value for Clients

Doing difficult things creates vulnerability, but it’s how we grow as professionals.

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VALUE IS A TERM often bantered in our corporate and everyday language. The word can be associated with many different meanings and implications. We may have each experienced the importance of providing value from family, friends, or managers. But it isn’t really that simple. How does one provide value to any group or organization?

To provide value you must first understand your own self-worth and the resulting value you have to offer. We live in a world where forms of media provide overwhelming amounts of intensity and mixed messages. As a result, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the trap of evaluating your own self-worth based on the illusion of how amazing everyone else’s life seems to be.

While it may seem like your individual strengths, qualities, and character don’t measure up to those around you, or even worse, to those whom you might follow on social media, it’s so important that you realize we all have individual strengths and, of course, corresponding weaknesses that make up our character. The ability to provide value to any group or organization hinges on your ability to see your own strengths and use them to the best of your capabilities. Warren Buffet, perhaps the most successful investor of our time, shared this great quote, “The most important investment you can make is in yourself.”

Identifying your own strengths is a critical step, but it’s a first step. Next, you need to be “all in.” Whether it be with your family, your friends, the workplace, a service organization, it doesn’t matter – you must commit to giving it your best effort. We all know people who may have less talent than others but have succeeded because of their hard work. Professional sports are a great example. Those who work the hardest are always the most successful. The same principle applies in our personal lives and in our jobs. I love this quote from Mark Twain, “The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”

To be clear, our best efforts come with mistakes and failure – it’s all part of the deal. So don’t be afraid to fail. Making mistakes is part of the process of learning to become a more successful person. Challenging yourself to do hard things always feels risky and creates vulnerability. But it’s how we become better at whatever we’re doing. I’m pretty sure I could take up the rest of my space here with quotes from the most famous and successful people talking about their numerous failures and how failing has helped them succeed, but I have likely already used up my share of inspirational quotes.

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Don’t forget to be curious. This may seem like strange advice, but learning new things will help you grow and develop and will continue to help you provide greater value. I’m not advocating that you adopt a four-year old’s behavior and constantly pester someone with “Why? Why? Why?” But I do believe we should never just simply settle for accepting a task or responsibility without understanding why we’re doing it and ultimately understand the expected outcome. Curiosity will lead you to challenge yourself to do harder things, to try new things, and continue to develop as a person.

My charge to each of you is to think long and hard about your own strengths and what you might have to offer others. Work hard, don’t be afraid of failure, and learn to challenge yourself. You will undoubtedly provide greater value to yourself and those around you.

Marty Mcghie is CEO/partner of Signs.com, an online provider of custom signage based in Sale Lake City. You can email him at . marty@signs.com.

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