Resiliency and the Art of Failure III – Reflections on a Conversation with Coach Martinovitch

Most of us, want to be the best we can be – at something.  No matter how many areas we already excel at, there is always more to accomplish. It never hurts to have a few reminders, tips, pointers, and a bit of coaching along the way. To that end, I sat down for a conversation with MIT Head Football Coach Chad Martinovich.

For our purposes, rather that discuss the notion of competing against others, we are going to consider competition from the point of challenging the opponent of oneself. In it’s most general terms, our competitive drive is a strong desire towards mastery of a particular aim, goal, or  purpose. It can lead us to rise up and out-do past efforts and help us bounce back from devastating disappointment, or loss.

Coach Martinovich reminds us, that failure can, and in fact MUST be experienced “as a way to go about things better”.  Often with success comes a mentality of trying to do things exactly the same way we did them last time, to achieve a similar winning result. This can stifle improvement by blocking consideration of small changes that may cause us to be even better. The potential exists for us to learn far more from failure with it’s wonderful ability to create opportunities for advancement.

Our Coach Chad, reminds us that to win the right way without taking short-cuts, demands that we first be of good character. He recommends considering Coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success as a good model for this. (see

When accessing success in anything, (relationships, work, home, events, performance, sports) we must look within and consider ourselves from a realistic perspective.  At the same time, for those of us who long to do things better than we have ever done them before – what is NOT useful, is to look first or only, at things that didn’t go well. In order for failure to be improved upon, we are required to look at what worked or is working. In every instance, although it may not be obvious at first glance, there is success or something that went well contained in the depths, of even the most dismal failure.

Starting with the positives then reinforcing them, allows us to begin to identify and understand our strengths. Focussing on what we do well helps build upon and grow these assets. Only once we have maximized “the intersection of our talents and abilities” can we then begin to look at what didn’t go as we had wished.

In looking at potential challenges, weaknesses, and areas for improvement Coach Martinovich offers a few questions for our consideration. Is there really something you need to change completely, or in reality is it only a small adjustment that may be required? Is there a situation or time from past success that we can draw on to create a needed subtle shift? Is the improvement required physical, or mental? What can you add to current training efforts to correct it? Are you just going through the motions or are you going all out to do your best? Are you playing to your positives? What didn’t work and is there something you can do to improve that?

It is said that a good coach is a combination of teacher, adviser, motivator, and counsellor. In my conversation with Coach Martinovich I certainly experienced when he took on each of these roles.  I will be playing with his insights for some to come.

A huge shout out filled with gratitude, to my neighbor and friend MIT Head Football Coach Chad Martinovich, for valuable free time graciously given to allow us a glimpse into his world of passionate dedication and intelligent insight.



"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 bakka2thesource a collaboration of musicians and artists.
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4 Responses to Resiliency and the Art of Failure III – Reflections on a Conversation with Coach Martinovitch

  1. Robert Vanderwaall says:

    Great topic Beth. Very applicable to everything in my life for sure. From singing, playing guitar, Senior Games, woodworking and family relationships. Very cool and well done.

    • Your welcome and much thanks. I am looking to continue to build confidence and I think the whole focus on positives and play to strengths is very helpful. Looking forward to sharing some of the applications from this in the future. Happy strength building!

  2. Ann Russell says:

    you continue to be my teacher. thanks!

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