Failures Help Build the Pillars of Success

As an entrepreneur, you aspire to be successful. You have ideas that you want to expand on and build into something great. Whether success means fame and fortune or maybe it means success on a smaller scale, it is important to you, yet defined differently by all.

Richard Branson is one of those successful entrepreneurs having become a well-known billionaire who lives on his own island retreat. He created the “Virgin” brand. Whether it’s Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Money, Virgin Media, Virgin Trains or another of his endless Virgin lines, his brand is seen and recognized by everyone. His success can be used as an inspiration to you, an aspiring entrepreneur, as you work hard to create your own success.

Branson is quoted as saying, “Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” This means that in his experience, success did not always come easy. It was something he had to work for.

In fact, success usually comes with a price. That includes failures, which in the long run, lead you to where you want to be. Even Branson had a number of failures when it came to the Virgin business. As he says in his quote though, he didn’t let it stop him from trying new ideas. He wasn’t embarrassed to try and try again.

Branson failed at creating a drink line, a wedding dress line, fashion line, cosmetics line, a music player, social media website and more. Still, despite all those failures, he remains to be one of the most wildly successful entrepreneurs in the world. His brand remains to be one of the most recognized. When you fail, you might get discouraged in your work or your purpose and your attitude may falter. That may lead you to give up. You may dwell on everything that went wrong and wonder why you should continue.

You can’t let failure get in the way of the multitude of successes you will achieve by pursuing your dream. You may feel like you have hit rock bottom. You just have to get yourself back up and stand on your feet.

Instead of looking at your failure as the absolute bottom, try to view your failure as an elevator. Your goal is to make it to the top floor to reach success, but you’ve made a mistake and you hit the wrong button so you’ve ridden the elevator back down a floor or two. Now is your chance to learn from your mistake, your failure, and choose the right button instead the second time around.

You won’t make the same mistake of pressing the wrong button because you’ve already done that once before and you’ve seen the consequences. If you take the time to consider your failures and learn from your mistakes, you can start to ride the elevator back to the top again -- to your success.

That’s not to say there won’t be many mistakes throughout your lifetime. We are only human, after all. But how else are we going to learn? Take every mistake and look at it as a blessing. Without it, you would never know you did something wrong. Then you can take that mistake and transform it into something positive and advance forward.

Take these other famous entrepreneurs, for example. They have known failure and yet they continued to try. Arianna Huffington was rejected by publishers 37 times and still has the Huffington Post. Bill Gates failed with his first company and yet managed to create Microsoft. Walt Disney was told he lacked creativity and now his work is known by everyone. Milton Hershey had to go through three candy companies before Hershey’s chocolate was a success. The list goes on and on. But today, these entrepreneurs have overcome their failures and made a name for themselves. They continued to try even after they were told that they couldn’t or they faced a failure.

They persisted, and that’s really what matters most. If you strive to be the best entrepreneur that you can be, then you can’t help but succeed.

Most entrepreneurs could tell you that their successes are rooted in failure. Though they didn’t let that stop them from pursuing their dreams and becoming successful because of it. Use their work as an example to yourself. Though failure may be disappointing and a hard lesson to learn, there is still success to be had. Failure is part of success.

A Sharp Dressed Man

A Sharp Dressed Man

Traveling with a business man brought some unexpected revelations. However, one particularly stands out. We arrive the night before the "big meeting". You know the one you have spent weeks preparing for, the one with one of your biggest clients (a $50M plus deal), and the morning of the meeting something goes wrong. He opens his garment bag only to find he had packed his entire suit--except the pants!

A discussion began from the horrified look on his face. We discussed whether he lie and say something got spilled on his suit pants over breakfast or does he admit our human state and confess he forgot to pack them? Another option was to rush from the breakfast table and race to the nearest local clothing store that would be open before the meeting.

This discussion made me realize how much our identity and worth are wrapped up in how we dress. With a positive attitude and confident body language, we can pull off not being appropriately dressed for the occasion. Many multi-million dollar business deals have been made by affluent men (and women) in jeans. When you are confident and comfortable in your own skin it shows whether you are in a $100 suit, a $1000 suit.....or a pair of jeans.

It can be tough to be a "fish out of water" and be inappropriately dressed for the occasion though. Our self esteem must be solidly in tact. We must know our worth comes from who we are (a valuable, worthy person), what we know (the astute business acumen will convince them to work with us), and the value we can offer (part of that value, perhaps, can be showing them you are human).

Although we don't usually choose to be inappropriately dressed, on the rare occasion we are, it's important to remember our self worth and our intellect are not wrapped up in what we are wearing.

Always be clothed with a positive attitude, a perspective full of hope, confidence, and the assurance that you are a worthy person. None of us can be less worthy than another unless we allow ourselves to be.

Walk into the room as a sharp dressed man (or woman) whether you are in a suit or jeans. Be clothed with confidence and a smile.

Our attitude determines our success more often than anything else.


Originally published on Reprinted here.

Walking My Dog Led Me Around the World

You ask me how walking my dog led me around the world? I'll tell you and it's no tall tale. I was walking my dog in my neighborhood as I do every other day. I smile as I pass my neighbors while my dog greets the other dogs. My neighborhood is one of those special places where people do stop to have a brief chat. You pass the same people often so eventually those brief chats add up to learning more about each other. This was one such moment.

My neighbor and I stopped to talk and the conversation turned a bit longer than it typically did. We began to ask each other about our professions, both curious since we would pass each other mid-day.

I shared what I did with her and it happened she had just reconnected with an old friend from high school who was looking for a copywriter. She made the introduction and he instantly hired me due to her referral.

The job went on for several months. During the assignment, I covered a story on an event coming to town. This event was of particular interest to me because it combined two of my favorite passions: entrepreneurship and college students. I instantly submitted a request to volunteer for the event.

During the event, I networked with others, and one conversation led us to a discussion on Italy. This perked me up because I had been planning a trip to Italy sometime during the year. He shared a few memories of his trip to Italy and gave me his card.

The story doesn't end there.

I occasionally followed up just to reconnect. But, one day my follow up was intentionally brought back to our conversation on Italy. I had booked my trip and was ready for tips and tricks to travel to Europe for my first time--alone.

He kindly connected me to a family member who lives in Italy. Not only did she graciously give me tips and help me plan transportation; but, she also invited me to stay with them during a portion of my trip.

By this time I bet you forgot this trail all began from walking my dog; but, I didn't! Let me share some relevant reminders to use in business (and relationships for that matter).

First, you never know how influential the people you meet will be in your life and who they know that could be beneficial to you.

Second, volunteering can propel your career. Find a cause you are passionate about and get involved.

Third, always follow up with people you meet. It may not lead anywhere today; but, relationships aren't meant for just today.

Fourth, always be kind. People remember you when you take time to get to know them.

Fifth, walk your dog :) Your dog will love you and you will be more approachable.

And that's the story of how walking my dog has led me around the world. I'll write you from Italy. Ciao!