Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things

Tag Archives: Perspective

The Trouble Is, You Don’t Think You Have Time

If you’d asked me 4 years ago about the famous quote from Buddha, I’d have a much different response than I do today.

The Trouble Is You Think You Have Time

See, I’m a go fast, go hard, go far kind of guy. I believe that “speed wins” and as the great American distance runner, Steve Prefontaine once said “The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.” Turning 30 was like a finish line in my head. My goal was to do more, see more, achieve more and be more, by 30, than the competition. Who’s the competition you ask? Good question. I have no idea. I was in a constant race myself…or rather the shadow of myself that I had built up.

Surprise, when I turned 30, the world didn’t end. You’re shocked, I know. Now, this isn’t the part of the post where I tell you I had this realization that I needed to slow down. Sorry. In fact, it’s the opposite. I think I realized there is no end, until things end…permanently. Decisions aren’t final. Yes, even, when you’ve made absolutely poor decisions, they aren’t final…and you have TIME to change things. You can recover. You can readjust your sights. You can pivot. You have time.

In fact, in a world where speed wins, the quicker you move on and the quicker you adjust the quicker you realize nothing is permanent. We don’t have an hourglass to keep an eye on. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, based on the decisions you’ve made. You’re not ahead. You’re not behind.

So with all due respect to Buddha, perhaps, the trouble is, you don’t think you have time.

I Feel Old

The other morning, I had the moment, that I’m sure many other have had. I was leaving my physical therapist’s office, limping to my car, gingerly sliding into the driver’s seat and it hit me. I feel old. I’m serious. You know, they say, it’s the age, it’s the miles. Well I’ve put a lot of miles on this soon to be 34 year old frame.

There were 4 moments, some big, some minor, that had me feeling I was old.

  1. I recently switched all my Nike running shoes for New Balance. You laugh. But, New Balance, despite its cult-like following, does have the stigma of being the shoe for “old” people. I traded in form for function. Let me be clear, the 3 pairs of New Balance shoes I picked up are great. The Minimus Hi-Rez is one of the most advanced running shoes out there. That said, I felt a little bit older buying New Balance.
  2. As if the New Balance shoes weren’t enough, I also needed inserts for my shoes. My flat feet finally caught up to me. In high school I ran a 4:26 mile; I was a cross country runner. I ran in any climate, any condition on any surface. Never had pain. At 33, I have pain. Maybe it wasn’t the New Balance shoes or the inserts, maybe it was the added purchase of a pair of Brooks shoes…
  3. Sensing a theme here? My left leg has been in a lot of pain the past 5 month. Finally, reluctantly, I went to a doctor. The good news, no surgery. The bad news, I needed to stretch out my joints and muscles more. I actually have a regiment to follow and a physical therapist. Stretch more? Me? The guy who could just hop on a basketball court, fresh from school and play for 4 hours? Ok it’s all adding up…joint pain, inserts and New Balance. Ok where’s my AARP card?
  4. Gulp, I went on a diet. Finally, my magic metabolism has faded. Insert sad face. The combination of my awesome eating capabilities and the inability to run (see above as to why) has me at my highest weight I’m years…170 pounds. To put that in perspective, at the peak of my physical fitness, in college, when I hit the gym 6 days a week and played basketball every day, I was 160. At my lightest, during cross country in high school, I was 140. I need to drop 15 pounds. It hasn’t showed up in inches yet, but I feel the weight. This is a first for me. I’ve never needed a diet. I just ate what I wanted.

Still no grey hairs, although apparently, I might be more qualified for certain jobs if I had a bit more “salt and pepper.” I’m serious. It was once explained to me that the main reason I wasn’t chosen for a job, was not my skills, but that I didn’t look the part…I looked to young.

So no grey. No glasses either. I’m also not eating dinner at 4 PM. So that’s good, right?

Like I said, it’s not the age, it’s the miles. I wouldn’t trade any of those miles in. The first 33 years have been a hell of a ride. I’m not going to slow down. How could I? I have New Balance shoes now!

3 Interview Rejections I Learned From

Rejection. I don’t know anyone that loves it. Be it, asking your parents for that cute puppy, only to be told not a chance. Be it, asking for that girl’s number and being shut down. Be it, getting that letter from the college you really wanted to attend, and having it say, sorry, no dice.

Rejection, in its many flavors just sucks. It’s disheartening. It leaves you feeling blah. Now, I’ve had my fair share of rejection over the years. From not making the basketball team in high school to having Georgetown tell me: umm…you can come to our school, but you’re not good enough to earn even a $2.00 scholarship.

One spot I’ve definitely faced rejection was in the interview process. The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota had a class taught by Mike Henle that was all about interview and resume prep. Honestly, one of the best classes I ever took. Whether it was that class or luck or whatever, early on in my career I generally aced interviews. I remember keeping track of my “close rate” – the ratio of offers to interviews. I stopped tracking it years ago, but I do recall at one point being in the 90% area.

Now, this isn’t about the offers. This isn’t about the jobs I took. This isn’t about my successes. This is about the failures. Specifically, I want to tell you about the 3 jobs I interviewed…that I really wanted…that I felt I was very qualified for…BUT didn’t get.

General Mills
It was just after the dot.com bust. Or rather, the middle of the bust. I was working in Chicago, but my girlfriend was Minneapolis based. And as many of you know, long distance for a relationship is no fun. Brad Smith was the director of Digital at General Mills and he was looking for a manager of digital. Several of Brad’s colleagues recommended me to him. After a phone screen, I came in for the full day of interviews. Now coming in I felt like I had a lot on my side. First, I knew Brad; it’s a small circle of digital people in Minneapolis. Two, I knew the VP of HR/Talent; she even endorsed me for the job. Three, I had a lot of CPG experience at the time. From Kellogg’s to Nestlé and from Altoids to Coca-Cola, I’d managed a lot of great brands. Four, I had the “buzz” that came from having worked at Fallon, on BMW on BMW Films. The General Mills interview process was standard…meet a lot of cross-functional team members, talk about your background, explain why you want to leave your current role, etc. Well, it was standard to a point. Part of the process involved the Myers Briggs personality test. And apparently, that’s where I failed in legendary fashion. I left the interview thinking I had nailed it. My initial conversations with Brad and HR, post interview, were encouraging and positive. A week went by. Then another. On the 3rd week, I got a call from my HR contact. She explained, I would not be moving on. I was shocked. My heart dropped. I inquired why. She hesitated initially and explained, that while everyone “loved” me and though I’d be great…I had failed the Myers Briggs test. Well, that’s a head scratcher..how do you fail a personality test, I asked. She explained, that I was too extroverted, an apparent no-no in Big G land. The test indicated that I would be the type of person who wouldn’t simply follow the process and approaches that had been used by the company or years…that I would challenge the norm too frequently. Baffled, I called Brad, who confirmed what I had been told and said something I remember to this day, “dude, I’ve never seen anything like this before, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you could fail a personality test.” Well, me neither. It’s safe to say I’ve remained quite extroverted, so I’m not exactly expecting a call from General Mills any time soon. I love many of the products in the General Mills family and have a lot friends who have thrived there. Sometimes, it’s not about talent, it’s about fit. And in this case, I didn’t fit.

Somewhere at the middle point in my career, just before I joined ConAgra Foods, I interviewed with R/GA to run the SC Johnson business. At this point in my career, I felt I was tailor made for this role. In addition to the CPG experience I listed above, I’d also cut my teeth on Similac, M&M and a few others. In short, I knew how to move pallets of product to Wal-Mart, using digital. R/GA at the time was one of the few digital agencies doing it right. Even today, they are one of the best digital shops in the world. I had and have a lot of respect for the agency and it’s commitment to great work. After a lengthy interview process, I was notified that after careful consideration I was not going to be offered the position. My notice came via phone by the head of account management. That’s a classy move and something more companies should do. Anyhow, of course I wanted to know where I didn’t measure up. Imagine my surprise when I was told, “unfortunately, you don’t have enough CPG experience.” Huh? I mean had you said, not enough telecom or retail experience, I’d have agreed. But, not enough CPG experience? Well, that was just obviously BS. Not only was a bummed, I mean R/GA was probably one of the few shops everyone really wanted in at, but I was irked I wasn’t getting the full story. How can you improve if you don’t know where you fell short? Well, shortly thereafter, I took a job working with a great team at ConAgra Foods. We were conducting an agency review for new digital agencies. I wanted R/GA in the pitch. Like I said, they did and do amazing work. I wasn’t harboring any bad feelings and more importantly, you have to set aside personal feelings (when they exist) and make the right business decision. Well, 3 things happened during the pitch that just shows what can happen when you aren’t level with someone…it can always come back to you later on. First, during the first round of the pitch, I got a call from the head of new business, he had with him the head of account management. She wanted to tell me how much she thought of me and was thrilled that while it didn’t work out with me joining R/GA, she’d finally get the chance to work with me as a client. He, wanted to make sure, there weren’t any hard feelings…there weren’t. Second, I relayed the call to my boss and his boss; in doing so I gave them all the context. They were surprised I’d still want to work with them. But, like I said, they did amazing work. Third, R/GA lived up to their reputation and made it to the final presentation. In that meeting, the head of account management explained that R/GA doesn’t have a “B” team, because they only hire the best. At that point, my boss asked…if you only hire the best, how can you explain not hiring Adam, because I happen to think he is one of the best. I was stunned. It’s a hell of a question and not one I was expecting. Initially, they thought he joking, but realized he was serious. I honestly, don’t remember the answer and it had ZERO impact on how we reviewed and rated them. Even today, nearly a decade later, I wish I knew why I wasn’t good enough for R/GA. If you’re reading this R/GA can you let me know why…call me…maybe?

Crispin, Porter + Bogusky
Let me first say, I’ve never had an interview, ever, like my interview at CP+B. You show up. There’s not set agenda. You meet some people for an hour and others for 5 minutes. They want you to meet with as any people as possible. But, here’s the catch…if one of those people, gives you a thumbs down, you fail. It has to be 100% consensus. I learned this all after the fact. On my interview day, I showed up at 8. I sat. I sat some more. And I sat even more. Around 9:30 I met my first interviewer. Between 9:30 am and 6:30 pm I met with no less than 30 people. I met with assistants, receptionists, Jeff Benjamin, the HR team, Winston Binch and more. As I boarded the plane back home, my head was spinning. I had no idea if I’d done well or if I’d bombed. A few days later I received a call from HR. It started out great. She was complimentary of me and my background. But, you just knew…you just knew, a “but” was coming. And, about 5 minutes into the call, it came. She explained their 100% consensus policy and indicated that while the core team I’d be working with and my “boss” thought I’d be a great fit, there was 1 dissenting vote. That one dissenting vote was enough to reject me. I was bummed to say the least. Now here’s the funny part. A few weeks later, after I’d already accepted another role, I received a call from HR. The person who had cast the no vote, had left the company, which paved the way for them to offer me the job. I passed. Good thing I did. Sometimes things happen for a reason, right? A few months later, CP+B lost the account I was going to work on.

You have to learn from your rejections and your failures. As I’ve gotten older any bitterness I had from being rejected by General Mills, RG/A and Crispin subsided. You get more pragmatic and realize that “fit” is really important. You start to evaluate opportunities based on philosophical alignment, culture and fit. You realize that having a company want you as much as you want them is an awesome feeling. I became better from those experiences. I learned from them. And frankly, without them, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today.

While not making the cut for the top 3, special mentions for Best Buy, Edelman and Carmichael
Lynch are well deserved.

What Would You Save?

Confession: I’ve seen the Movie “Leap Year.” It’s bad. Like really bad. Could be Amy Adams’ worst performance ever. I won’t give away the plot…even though you can probably accurately predict how it ends…but, there’s a very poignant moment where Amy Adams is asked, what would you save in a fire? Later on in the move, she creates an opportunity to see what her fiancé would save. What he chooses to save sets the stage for the movie’s climax.

I hope none of you ever have to actually decide what to save if your house were to catch fire. Last night I was talking with a colleague, Tonya Hall, who I met on twitter. During our conversation, she shared that recently, during the Colorado fires, she had 15 minutes to decide to what to save in her house, before flames engulfed it. The house perished. The only word that comes to mind is, “tragic.” Thankfully, she made it out unscathed.

Her story, put a very sharp point on the question often asked at parties as a hypothetical: What would you save if your house were on fire and all you had were 15 minutes to get out?

Recently I saw a quote from the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard that stuck with me and in the face of the hypothetical question, seems appropriate: “The more you know, the less you need.” That quote comes from, Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman. It’s a solid read and I highly recommend it. After my divorce I started over completely. Beyond my clothes, camera equipment, laptop and car, I had nothing. Mind you, this was by choice. The best part of starting over, was how selective I could be in what I purchased. My focus was very much on quality over quantity. I live a rather sparse life, but the “things” I do have, I value.

With 15 minutes to save the most valuable items, I’d be done in 5. There’s only 4 things I’d rush to save:

1. Apple Time Capsule. It holds every photo I’ve ever taken since 2001. Photos are memories and I’d hate to lose those memories.

2. Watch Box: I don’t own lots of jewelry. It’s not my thing. But, watches, are something I love. Each watch tells a story. Each watch was purchased with a story in mind and a moment to to attach to it.

3. Camera Bag: Some items in the bag have sentimental value that can’t be replaced. But, more importantly, I’m always happy, behind the camera, capturing a moment.

4. Document Box: I have a box that contains all the important documents…birth certificates, passports, etc. If you have to start over, you’re going to need most of those documents.

That’s it. Small list. No clothes, except those on my back. No, computers or electronics. No pieces of furniture, regardless of how cool they are. Nope, just 4 things.

What would you save?

Have I Mellowed?

The other day I was asked, “so, do you think you’ve mellowed since you had kids?” It got me thinking. There’s nothing quite like becoming a parent. Everything changes. Your perspective on a variety of topics, completely changes. For example, I went for thinking the Victoria’s Secret shorts with “Pink!” written across the arse were cute. After my daughter was born, I found them offensive and was appalled that parents would let their relatively young daughters wear them. Things change.

But, on the whole, I don’t think I’ve mellowed. Most people would characterize me as intense, driven and aggressive. I tend to think I’m also a risk taker and a ask for forgiveness, rather than permission, type of person. There have only been slight adjustments to the DNA of me since becoming a parent…twice over.

The more I thought about the question, I realized that while on the whole I hadn’t mellowed, there were definitely fairly 2 specific and recognizable (for those who knew me well) changes.

1. Punctuality: I definitely pride myself on being a person that’s punctual. If we agree to meet at 9PM, I’ll be there by 8:55. Simply put, I value and respect time. A major pet peeve of mine was someone who didn’t respect my time and would routinely be late. It was the sort of thing that could torpedo an evening. While, people being late still irritates me…only because I’m rarely, if at all late, it doesn’t impact me in the ways it once did. I’m certainly more understanding and forgiving.

2. Changes In Plans: Let me first say, if you didn’t know me before Cora and John were born, you’d never notice how more laid back I am these days when things don’t go according to plan. I’m a planner. Always have been. Always will be. It’s how I’m wound. I make plans. I make contingency plans for the plans. I have contingency plans for the contingency plans. I unfairly held people to the same expectation. When you have kids, you realize nothing ever goes according to plan. You just can’t account for temper tantrums, or accidents, or potty breaks, or the restaurant not having chocolate milk. You start to accept that sometimes, it is, what it is…simple as that. You learn to simply role with it, not look back, get focused and start looking forward. I have to say, this has helped me professionally, more than any coaching advice, conference or book. My ability to manage change has never been better. And, in today’s constantly changing world, it’s an invaluable skill.

These have been changes for the better. I’m sure there are other subtle mellow-ings, but those were the 2 that stuck out to me.

Are You Reaching Your Potential?

I openly admit that there was a great sense of irony in learning of Steve Jobs’ passing on an iPhone.  Of all the products Steve brought to the market, the iPhone, may be the most iconic.  Sure, the iPod was revolutionary, AppleTV was redefining and the iPad was transformational.  But, a stroll down the street shows you the profound impact that the iPhone has had on the world.

But, this isn’t a post about Steve’s legacy.  It’s not a post about how much I’ve grown to rely on and love his products.  No, this is a post about three quotes…two from Steve and one from Jay Fanelli on twitter last night.

Courtesy of Steve Jobs

Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.

Courtesy of Jay Fanelli 

Every CEO of every company on the planet should pay attention to this right now and ask themselves, “why won’t this happen when I die?”

As I wrote nearly a year ago, Time Is The Most Valuable Currency we have.  It’s a currency that becomes more valuable over time…or if you will…as we have less time left.  And, despite it’s value, it’s a currency you can’t trade and it’s completely finite.  In any given day, you only get about 2 hours of time for yourself…or perhaps we let life dictate that all we get is 2 hours.

If you trace through the annals of history for Steve Jobs quotes, you’ll find several dedicated to the concept of time and making good use of the time we’re given.  Steve, more than anyone had to realize how finite time was over that past few years.  He exhausted every option, with money being no object, to receive a liver transplant in 2009.  Some viewed his ability to leverage his wealth to garner a transplant faster than those with lesser financial means as a problem with the healthcare system.  For a person, who seemed to understand how fleeting and finite life is, one would have to wonder, why was he fighting the inevitable.

I don’t think it was ego.  Quite the opposite actually.  I tend to think Steve wanted to leave knowing he had maximized his gift…that he had reached his potential…that his work was done.  It’s a maddening thing to know what your potential is, but realize you might now be able to reach it.

Time is fleeting.  You get what you get.  You have little to no control over how much time you get.  But, you do have complete control over what you do with the time you do get.  You can’t point a finger at anyone, other than yourself, for not maximizing your time.

We can all only hope to maximize our full potential like Steve.  iMagine a world in which we all strove to reach our potential and were bothered by falling short…even if it was only falling short by an inch?

For me, that’s what I take away from Steve Jobs.  There’s no sense in living if what you’re doing isn’t making you happy. And happiness has a funny way of helping you reach your potential.

September 11th, Ten Years Later

An earlier version of this post exists here.  I’ve since updated it with new information, perspective and thoughts.

I’m certainly one of the lucky ones.  I’m still here today.  I flew, I landed and made it home.  I went on to get married (eventually divorced), have two amazing children, love again and make a life.  I was fortunate, no one I knew suffered any tragedy that morning.  This has always stopped me in my tracks.  The majority of my family lives in or works in New York.  To escape that horrible day, otherwise unscathed, is a miracle.

Frankly, when I look back on September 11, 2011 I marvel at the events.  That morning, I left the house, kissed my girlfriend (she’d later go on to be my wife) goodbye and got into a cab headed for Midway airport.  I boarded a Southwest flight from Midway airport with my great friend and colleague Reed Roussel. We were both headed to Ft. Knox Kentucky for a full day worth of meetings with our United States Army client. When we landed in Kentucky, the first plane had already met its fate by flying directly into the twin towers.

We were oblivious to everything that had transpired as we hopped into our Enterprise rental car and started the 45 minute trek to Ft. Knox. During the ride over, little did we know, plane #2 had also crashed. This was 2001 and cell phones weren’t exactly in high use or even reaching mass adoption levels. The behavior of having it practically glued to your hand just didn’t exist. I did notice a call from my wife and Reed noticed a call from his mom, but we ignored them both.  Cell reception in the Ft. Knox, Kentucky area was spotty and we didn’t want to incur the wrath of roaming charges.  They were well aware of the tragedy and were trying to reach us to make sure we were both OK.  I’m still amazed that their calls made it through.  If you remember, nearly everyone was receiving the “all circuits are busy” message that morning and throughout the day.

When we arrived at the post, there was something off. The vibe was all wrong. An hour into our visit (55 minutes of which were spent waiting for the client) we finally learned from our client that 2 planes had flown into the twin towers and it was to our “advantage” that we leave the post immediately. Why? Because, in about 10 minutes the post would be on lock down and all non-military personnel would be placed “under suspicion.” To be honest, we were still confused about the situation, but we had no desire to be locked up on the post.

Reed and I hopped in the car, called the airline, learned all flights were canceled, then called Enterprise and explained we would not be returning the car to the airport. Instead, we would be driving to Chicago and returning it there. If I remember correctly, she informed us there would be a incremental $150 charge, or so, since we hadn’t intended to return the vehicle out of state.  The fee was irrelevant, we just wanted to get home to see our families.  So, we hung up the phone and started the journey from Ft. Knox to Chicago. The roads were strangely empty. Keep in mind, at this point, while the rest of the country was transfixed to the television coverage, we hadn’t seen anything. With no smartphones, our only real option was the radio. The irony, was, the only radio station that was coming through was the one carrying Howard Stern. Crazy, right?  There was no XM, no Sirius, no internet streaming, just your FM/AM tuner.  That meant for the next 2 hours we listened to Howard Stern. He was our connection to the outside world and was the one who brought us up to speed on what had happened. It wasn’t till we stopped for lunch, that we saw our first visual. We were awe struck. Stunned. It’s hard to put into words the emotions running thorough me. I’m a born and raised New Yorker; this hit hard.

I’ve always traveled for work.  It’s just part of the job.  But, travel for me changed after 9/11. I paid more attention to my surroundings.  When someone got up to go to the bathroom, I stopped what I was doing and took notice.  Those were simple things. They were things that I think many of us did.  But, what really changed for me was something that I still do to this day.  I make sure to let the ones I love know I’m leaving…I try to call them, just to hear their voice…just in case.  And…I always let those loved ones know I landed…same thing, I try to connect live if I can….though these days, I rely on text messaging because of convenience.  You value the people who matter the most to you, just a little more, when you realize that flights aren’t as routine as we’d like to think they are.

10 years ago, I learned about 9/11 via the radio. I learned about operation Desert Storm via television. When Sadam Hussein was captured, I learned about it via the web. The death of Osama Bin Laden was shared with me via text message first, then Twitter. The text message I received instructed me to check out Twitter, not turn on the TV. After reading the news, I found a TV and saw the president’s speech. As I watched his delivery, I couldn’t help but think about how we’ve evolved as a society…how our sharing has changed…how our means for connection have evolved. We operate in a real time and always on demand society. I think this was the first real moment where that wasn’t just rhetoric, for me, but a truly shared experience.

I’m so thankful for technology and how it’s evolved…how simple it’s made keeping in touch with those who matter most.  Texting, Facebook, foursquare…hell, even the ability to simply make a phone call from anywhere; these are all things we take for granted, not unlike the people in our lives who matter the most.  A good friend of mine shared this with me via twitter last year:

Life is largely fleeting. A series of momentary intersections with other people. It is truly incredible to find someone of permanence.

My experience on 9-11 reminds me of that concept every day.

Understanding Life

On the first day of school the teacher addressed her students and explained that today’s class would be focused on what they wanted to be in life…when they grew up.

You can be anything you want to be in life, but you’ll have to work hard to make sure it happens. Nothing in life is simply given to you.

One by one she asked her students what they wanted to be when they grew up. Eventually she came upon a young boy. When he was asked the question he didn’t respond in the same manner as the other students. He didn’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or a construction worker.

No, when asked what he wanted to be in life, the young boy responded, “I want to be happy.” The teacher shook her head in frustration and explained you don’t understand life, the assignment or the question. To which the young boy remarked, well you don’t understand life.

Getting Up

Earlier today I took the kids the park. Not just any park, but the park referred to as the “Shoots And Ladders” park. Honestly, I have nom idea why the call it that. The park is massive. It contains a water only area, a sand box, tire swings, a centralized mini play area (bridges, slides, ladders, etc.) and an entire section reminiscent of something from Neverland. The Neverland area has cargo nets to climb, tunnels to crawl through and of course slides to, well, slide down. Really, the Neverland area feels like a gigantic tree fort community. It’s cool. Heck, I want to play in it.

Well, as soon as we get there, Cora and John take off running and head over to these very large steps that lead up to a cargo net climbing area. Cora ran, jumped and climbed these stairs. While doing so, she frequently turned back to remind us she was #winning and that we needed to move faster. Her gloating caused her to take a huge spill. She fell like a ton a bricks. We thought for sure she’d end up with scrapes, cuts and tears. Nope. Instead, she picked herself up, didn’t brush herself off and said, “hurry up.” A parent witnessing the scene marveled and said, “that’s one tough little girl you have.” That she is.

Here’s the thing. We all fall down at some point, literally and figuratively. Falling down is expected. Failure is the norm. The real question, the real thing we’re evaluated against is what we do after we fall. It’s how we pick ourselves up that’s remembered. Did we sulk? Whine? Dwell? Point a finger? Complain? Cry? Look for pity? Or, did we take responsibility, learn from the experience and gracefully start again?

I don’t dwell or point the finger. I learn and move on. The quickest way to succeed is to fail. Seriously. Ever watch someone learning how to ride a bike? They fail repeatedly. They crash. They scrape. They cut. They cry. They fall. But, eventually they ride. Failing often and fast, while learning from the experience helps you go from not knowing how to ride a bike, to never being able to forget how.