Fear of Falling
Raise your hand if you aim for failure in all of your endeavours.
Somehow, I thought that would be the reaction I got. Who stands up and declares that they love nothing more than to crash and burn when they try something new? No one enjoys putting their best foot forward only to be pushed back five steps because they weren’t prepared or didn’t have what they needed to get the job done. It’s all about doing a job and doing it well and succeeding at everything, right?
But here’s the problem: that’s actually not possible. The Law of Averages says that some people are going to fail and some are going to succeed. Nature is all about balance. So that means that some people, regardless of how equipped and knowledgeable and skilled they are, will fail at their attempts to start a small business. It has to happen. It’s awful and no one likes to see it, but can you envision a world where every business that started stayed open? Talk about supply outweighing demand!
So how do entrepreneurs do it? How do you make that commitment and put effort into bringing your dreams into reality, while knowing the whole time that there is a rather large chance that your reality will come crashing down around you? I know what you’re thinking – that some people are just lucky and that is what makes them successful. They hit the market at the right place at the right time and were triumphant where others had found defeat. Here’s my proof that this is not the case: five names. Biz Stone, Jawed Karim, Akio Morita, Harland David Sanders, and Bill Gates. All five are entrepreneurs who suffered major setbacks in their first attempts to start an enterprise. But now, because they refused to give up and instead started over with more experience and more determination, we have Twitter, YouTube, Sony, KFC, and the biggest software company in the world.
This may sound clichéd, but the key to being a successful entrepreneur comes down to personality and values. The most successful entrepreneurs in the world will all tell you the same thing: they weren’t afraid to fail. They went into every venture determined to make a go of it, with the attitude that failure was not an option. And then when it all went to pieces and the doors closed behind them, they would learn from it and pick up those pieces and try again. But they were all so determined to find success that they pushed through what would keep most of us from even trying. And believe it or not, this is a trait that you can learn for yourself. Sure, it feels awful to be pushed back and there may be some tears and venting and depression and sadness. But after your pity party ends, you’ll have a drink and take a shower and get back out on the field. Because that’s the way that the game is played in the world of start-up businesses.