A few years ago, I had the chance to meet Barbara Corcoran, the rags to riches Grand Dame of New York City real estate, and hear her speak about how she built such a successful business. Her talks are always a hilarious mix of business savvy and homespun advice, as one would expect from the author of If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtails: And Other Lessons I Learned from My Mom.
However, one comment she made during that speech has always stuck with me. She pointed out that the only difference between the most successful salespeople in her organization and the rest was not in the number of rejections, failures or setbacks they faced, but rather in how quickly they recovered and got right back into the game.
I often think of Barbara’s comment during ice skating season, because it was shortly after we met that I was trying to teach my son to skate. Now, my child is not what one would call a skating prodigy (no Olympic moments in our future) and our outings at that time tended to consist of me holding him upright between my legs as we circled the rink until my back gave out.
But we were in Colorado visiting friends and had the opportunity to skate outside on a lake where they rented not only skates but also hockey equipment. This was a big change from being on a crowded MDC rink in Boston. Moreover, with a stick gripped firmly in his clutches for the first time and facing what seemed like acres of uninhabited ice, my son magically transformed from timid, hand-holding, cautious shuffler, to mini-mite hockey player skating off on his own to slap the puck around with a young friend. While not an Olympic moment, it certainly qualified as a Kodak moment.
Unfortunately, our combined joy – his in finding a new skill; mine in being able to skate upright – ended prematurely when he was the unwitting recipient of an accidental high stick to the face. As I carried him over to shore and packed snow on his bleeding lip (relieved that there wasn’t going to be any permanent damage or visits from the tooth fairy that night), I assured him that we could return our skates and go back to the lodge immediately.
But he only started crying harder, and it took me a few seconds before I realized that the last thing he wanted to do was to leave. So, once I stopped the bleeding, I did what any good hockey mom would do: Cleaned up the dried blood, wiped away his tears, handed him the hockey stick and sent him back off across the lake.
As he rejoined his friend and play resumed, all I could think (besides wondering where I could find him a hockey helmet with a face mask) was:
Plane tickets to Vail: $600.00
Rental ice skates & equipment: $12.00
Watching your son pick himself up and get right back into the game: priceless