In my book Rule #1 Don’t Be #2, I included several stories of businessmen and women who failed -- and failed badly -- before they found success. Henry Ford’s businesses failed and left him broke five times before he founded Ford Motor Company. Thomas Edison could have given up after 3,000 failed attempts to create the first commercially viable, long-burning incandescent light bulb. Jack Ma, the creator of Alibaba Group and the world’s 22nd richest man, failed three times in college and was even turned down for a job at a fast food restaurant. I find their stories, and others, very encouraging.
I, too, faced my own failures as a young entrepreneur before I founded Gold Star Financial Group and its successful family of companies. But, despite setbacks, I kept going by changing direction or working smarter. I learned a great deal along the way, which is why I’m here to tell you that failure isn’t losing. It’s learning. Here are some things I learned:
You will fail
Failures are inevitable, especially when you take a big risk to achieve ambitious goals. Recognize this before you begin. You will learn from your failures and they will only make you better. There is very little learning in success. Embrace failure and move on. Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up.
Never a failure. Always a lesson
Attitude has a lot to do with how we perceive our failures. If you can start by looking at each failure as a lesson, you’re already ahead of the game. Figure out what went wrong and what you could do differently. Then do it. Don’t let excuses or negative thinking get in your way. Remember, you are not a product of your circumstances. You are a product of your decisions.
Being challenged in life is inevitable; being defeated is optional
Most of the successful people I encounter at conferences, at hockey rinks and on movie sets are there because of their resilient nature and dogged determination to succeed. That’s what sets them apart from the quitters. You need to work hard and never give up. Vince Lombardi, considered one of the greatest coaches and motivators in NFL history, said, “Remember, the man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” People who reach the top aren’t afraid to climb.
Failures are usually only temporary
Failure is a great tool we can use to chart a better course and refine our strategy. Usually with some tweaks and changes to our game plan, we can dust off our pants and get back in the ring. Keep going and you will find success.
People are often so afraid they’ll fail at something that they don’t try. Don’t be one of those people. Everyone has failed at something in his or her life, but not everyone tries again and again. You don’t want to look back at your dreams one day and think on what could have been. But, dreams don’t work unless you do. Pick yourself up, and get back to work. World hard every day to reach your goals and you will. As I always say, “Success is never owned. It’s rented and the rent is due every day.”
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