When I was first taught about entrepreneurship one thing that has stuck with me over the years is when my professor wrote a single word on the white board.
That word back then made my stomach churn and I immediately thought “I don’t want to fail.” Followed shortly after “I will never see myself as an entrepreneur.”
Fast forward about four years later and I am an entrepreneur and I’ve failed multiple times before.
What Happened Between Those Years?
Well a lot happened. I wrote some of it in my book The Shy Boy I Once Knew. But the most important thing — and what I want to talk about today — is that I embraced failure.
Or I built a tolerance to it after failing several times.
Like My Teacher Once Said
You will fail at life and no doubt you will fail at business as well. Anything that you set out to do in life is destined to fail at some point.
For a lot of people they would be like me before, dreading those words. Resent them. Having this massive hatred for the concept.
But for others, and myself, I see this as something exciting.
I See It As A Way To Grow
Like I talked about last week, I see failures and mistakes as lessons. Ways to grow. Unfortunately a lot of people jump to the conclusion that mistakes are bad. That sort of thing is ingrained into our head from having to do a lot of tests.
I remember those red marks on my returned tests. That feeling of dread I didn’t do very good on my tests. I was a C to B average student and that’s where I stayed all through university, college and high school.
But at the time I was comfortable with being at that position. I had a deep loathing for tests. Today I still really don’t enjoy testing but I can see myself approaching the situation differently.
Now I would see it as a way of growing for next time. Figuring out what sort of things worked and what can I do better for next time.
Failure In The End Is Part Of The Process
It’s a step that has to be taken. Whether you have a bullet-proof plan (Like Sam Walton building Wal-Mart when he was 44 years old, after years of running a handful of stores before) right now, or later, chances are you’ll run into complications along the path. Worse case is you will experience heavy failure.
The question lies in what are you going to do about it moving forward?
Will you take action, learn from your mistakes and move forward?
Will you reject the experience, dismiss it, and discourage others to ever try something like that again?
Or will you have a deep seeded fear of ever trying anything ambitious again? Coming up with elaborate reasons why it won’t work.
Embracing Failure Means Understanding Yourself
Before you consider those options, remember your first steps you ever took. It’s difficult to remember when and where you took those first steps, but one thing is certain, you know how to walk. Or at the very least you know how to propel yourself forward.
Not once during that time did you think, “Maybe this walking thing isn’t cut out for me.” Because I’m sure as well you probably stumbled about. You fell down and overall you failed at walking. There may even be video evidence of it too.
Point is though that you didn’t give up on it. You learned the basics of walking slowly but surely as you developed. But that principal can be applied in your life right now.
So Even Though You Have Failed
Your mistakes don’t define who you are and you can learn to learn again. Realize that you are still growing and learning regardless of your age.
And excuses are nothing but roadblocks. You learned how to walk when you couldn’t even talk properly. I have confidence you can achieve anything now as long as you are willing to grow.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
Speaking of excuses, tomorrow I’ll be talking more about excuses, some of the common excuses that I read and how to address them to propel yourself forward!
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