The moment you hit rock bottom is not a very unique experience. Although the actions were taken after the realization vastly differs from one person to another.
For me, it was while watching a very romantic movie, the kind of movie where the guy races through traffic to get to the airport so he can finally pour out his true feelings to his dream girl.
He just manages to catch her at the ‘check-in line’, runs up to her, grabs her and begs her not to leave. She looks deep into his eyes, doubting him, doubting everything and then all of a sudden.
He gets down on one knee and proposes to her with his Grandma’s wedding ring. Romantic right? And yet, I couldn’t figure out why it was at this exact moment that I started to cry like someone stole my cat or something…
It was a few light tears at first…then it turned to real sobbing.
At that moment I realized that:
- This movie is so corny, no guy would make it through traffic in time to get the girl – not Kampala traffic anyway, plus we have only one airport!
- My tears, these tears, had nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the fact that I was failing at life…with a capital F!
I was exhausted and starting to hate this dream I’d been pursuing what felt like an eternity. I’d been working myself to the bone, but nothing seemed to be going right.
I’d received negative client reviews, was behind on important production deadlines, my landlord was starting to begin all his messages with scary sentences like “If you do not pay by the close of business today…”
It was hard, really hard but if you’re an entrepreneur, failure isn’t a choice, its part of the game, it’s how you learn and if you’re smart about it, it’s how you grow.
Failure is the big “F” word one no one wants to talk about. The time you didn’t meet a client’s expectations so they decided to go with a competitor. That time you couldn’t make the payment. When you took the business loan and didn’t anticipate how the market would react to your product. That time your marriage fell apart leaving you with a broken heart and nasty attitude to boot!As an entrepreneur you need to know failure intimately, take it out on a few dates and study it! Click To Tweet
Much has been said on the subject, some believe there’s only one correct way to fail in business. Fast and hard, get all the pain out as soon as possible and then try again.
As an entrepreneur you need to know failure intimately, take it out on a few dates and study it! Why did you fail? How did you fail? Did you pass the buck or were you just distracted?
Should you be in this business? Are you disciplined enough to handle the responsibility? Failure isn’t glamorous, often times, it’s ugly and it’s really messy. Kind of like your ex!
So here are a few tips from someone who’s had a taste of it and still has a huge bowl to get through;
1. The x + y = z of it.
The only way to get really good at something is to fail at it enough times that you finally get the formula. When you fail, you must have the courage to distance yourself from it.
You must understand that you aren’t a failure simply because you failed at this thing. Understand that it’s part of the journey to becoming one of the greatest. You must get up, dust yourself off, cry a little, or maybe a lot, and then try again.
2. You must not wear failure as an identity.
I’ve met a lot of people that have failed at something or the other in their lives and have turned it into an identity they walk around with. They pull it out at appropriate times when the gathering is big enough so everyone can see how well they failed.
They have it at the ready to “warn” others who might actually try to pursue that same treacherous path. They have horror stories with examples all the way from China! Do not pay attention to that fear, use those horror stories as markers and pointers for your own journey.
You’ll learn that like in all the Hollywood horror stories, you never ever go to the basement parking lot alone!!! Bottom line is you’ll learn.
3. Failure is evidence that you actually tried at something.
Many would-be entrepreneurs are stuck in the zone between having a really great idea and having the courage to do something about it. For most, the fear of failure is stronger than the possible joy that could come from winning. You tried and you failed, now all you have to do is try again.
4. The F-word means you’re badass.
The people we celebrate, the greatest entrepreneurs the world has ever known built their empires amidst great odds stacked against them, and most importantly, did not let failure stop them.
So, why should you?
A quote from the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coehlo dedicated to all those entrepreneurs that have faced a few setbacks in the first half of this year and need a little more courage for this next half;
“What you need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the soul of the world tests everything that was learned along the way.
It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream.
That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.”
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