I keep seeing this float around on LinkedIn and other places, “Your character is defined not by how hard you fall, but by how high you bounce when you fall.” Do you remember those Super Balls from our youth? I loved those things. They were made from a new space-age, probably toxic, material that had a “secret formula.” You throw them down on the driveway and they would bounce a 100 meters high… then they would bounce away and you’d never find them again. Or, if you did find them, you would break a lamp inside the house when you tried dribbling them in the living room. Yes, I think most parents are glad those have not made a comeback.
However, I think Super Balls have a good correlation with character. Everyone falls sometimes. You get tripped, you fall because you take too many risks, or you simply give up and throw yourself down. We have all been there —- or, some might be there now. You might be experiencing a tough time at home. Or, you may have been hit with an extraordinary financial crunch. Or, a spouse may have lost a job. Or, someone in your life might be experiencing a health issue. Or, you get tired from those daily calls from your child’s Principal at school. Or, you need to make a hard decision. Or, you feel your career has dead-ended. Or, you are lonely. Or, you just feel disappointed in how things are going or have turned out. Or, you are depressed or sad. Or, you have disappointed someone else. Or… There are many reasons why we might fall.
The measure of our character, though, is not how hard we might have fallen, but how high we bounce! There are many, many examples of great people that have fallen, but gotten up and thrived. A measure of our character is… Can you put whatever made you fall behind you and take control of your future? It is easy to feel you are the victim of something or someone. But, can you intentionally put that aside and move on and move forward? Whatever it is – whether personal or work-related – we are the most effective, the most fun, and the most useful in life and work when you have bounced back. And, when you show that you can bounce, you become a role model for others that are still down.
So, for today, how high can you bounce? And, if you see someone else on your team or in your life still trying to bounce, lend a hand.