Success: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others….

Ready to find success? Let’s do a critical thinking test. From the list of words below, find the one item that doesn’t fit with the rest?

  1. Horse
  2. Hay
  3. Barn
  4. Beaver
  5. Plow

If you identified that beaver didn’t belong on the list of items that you might find on a farm, you passed the first challenge.

Now let’s try one for entrepreneurs, but with a twist. One of these items is required for success, the rest are simply nice-to-haves. Can you find the real one?

  1. Working hard
  2. Identifying a trend early
  3. Finding an investor
  4. Being intelligent
  5. Learning from failure

You work hard? Great! I know a lot of hard-working people hovering around the poverty line. Hard work doesn’t guarantee financial success.

You’re getting in on the ground floor? Great! So did many miners who died penniless next to others who got to California at the beginning of the Gold Rush.

You found an investor who believes in you and your business? Great! For every well-funded start-up that succeeds, you’ll find hundreds that fail. Success requires more than seed money.

So you’re smarter than the average bear? Great! Intelligence is always preferable to ignorance, but many very smart people run their businesses into the ground without seeing a profit.

Speaking in Miami recently to a YPO group of young, successful (as measured in millions of dollars) business owners, I wrote down these gems from my conversations with several of them:

“I’m glad I didn’t know how many times I would need to fail before I got it right.”

“Success is the last thing you find, because it happens at the end of a series of failures.”

“The only difference between me and the guy who went back to working a 9-to-5 job is that I refused to let failure stop me.”

“This is my sixth business, and the first one that’s made a penny. I’m glad I didn’t have the good sense to quit after my 5th consecutive failure!”

Real Success Means Learn from Failure!

Successful entrepreneurs see failure as a gift and a learning opportunity. Call it “resilience,” “bouncing back,”  or “getting up again.” Whatever it goes by, it’s the lessons learned in failure that fuel great successes.

As Samuel Beckett, the Irish writer, says, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Maybe you won’t see success today, but how will you fail better for tomorrow?

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