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  • Writer's pictureKelli Pettigrew

2020 - Will this be your game changing decade?

It would be hard to convince me otherwise that Pat Summitt is not one of the greatest leaders - let alone female leaders - of all time.

Her reputation, her stats, her legacy speaks for itself. Pat, who led the University of Tennessee women's basketball squad to eight National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championships (1987, 1989, 1991, 1996–98, and 2007–08) and compiled more wins (1,098) than any other Division I college basketball (men’s or women’s) coach in NCAA history, was a force larger than life.

Every year, I start my year by reading "Sum It Up: A Thousand and Ninety-Eight Victories, a Couple of Irrelevant Losses, and a Life in Perspective" by Pat Summitt and Sally Jenkins for a couple reasons; the most profound being that to me, it's like the "Rocky Theme Song" motivation I need to start my year. By the end of the last chapter, I am ready to take on the world with a renewed focus and fervor that I attribute to the lessons learned and shared by Pat in this read.

I just completed 2020 business training with the RE/MAX Complete office and agent staff of 20 agents. In the training, I emphasized the importance of accountability and ownership; reminding each of them that they are the CEO of their own small business and the "buck" stops with them.

The emotional maturity it takes to be self aware enough to recognize when we have made a mistake, evaluate the mistake, the precursor to the mistake, and the fallout are crucial if you want to succeed in business today. The faster you learn the symbiotic connection between responsibility, ownership and accountability - the more quickly you will rise to your leadership pinnacle.

I'm not afraid to fail. I've failed plenty in my life and career. Maybe not as many times in business as the likes of Henry Ford or Abraham Lincoln, but I've had my fair share. When I look back, I can always say the greatest learning experiences were the failures - not the successes. The successes are more fun to talk about - For Sure! But the defeats, the mis-steps, the moments where you didn't follow your instinct, or your gut, or your experience, are the moments that have provided the greatest learning experiences for me. So my advice to the team is "Fail Fast". Don't be afraid to try new things, but as you do, strive to "Fail Fast" at those that weren't the right approach or best idea to begin with.

And when you fail, take responsibility, and accountability, for the mistakes you made; own them, embrace them, for those are your greatest learning opportunities. I hope someday, at the end of my journey, I have the good fortune to be able to say, like Pat, many victories, a few irrelevant losses and a life in perspective.

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