Future Entrepreneurs – Make Failure Your “F Word”

“Innovation is an invitation to failure. If there’s not an opportunity for failure, it’s not innovative.” – Seth Godin

You’re starting your career as an entrepreneur – congratulations. Now, look with both eyes toward the horizon; toward those inevitable achievements and conquests, and scream: “I’ll be the next Facebook!”

A successful entrepreneur needs this kind of energy and drive.

“That’s great kid! Don’t get cocky!” – Han Solo

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As a future entrepreneur, you’re going to make some mistakes; some critical mistakes. You’ll have some setbacks. You will fail at some of your endeavors. Sounds harsh but get used to it.

And when it inevitably happens – in whatever size and form – from sending a private email via company-wide “Reply All”, to closing up your first (and second, and maybe third) start-up, to single-handedly jeopardizing your company’s listing on NASDAQ (yes, I speak from experience) what will you do? Sit and cry; tell yourself you’re a failure?

No, you won’t – because successful entrepreneurs only make “good” mistakes. You’re going to remember that mistakes and misfortunes are not failure.

“Failure” will become your F-word… a word you shouldn’t say.

Instead you’ll absorb these setbacks – you’ll make them a part of you, and that will make you stronger.

How Can a Mistake Be Good?

As counter-intuitive as it sounds, depending on how you react to them, mistakes and hardships are prerequisites to becoming a good, or even a great, entrepreneur.

Mistakes are good when they teach you something. And you’ll learn:

  • To be tough – being an entrepreneur requires a certain amount of old school, John Wayne toughness. Want an easy job where you can have a steady social life; where you have a relatively guaranteed income and lots of sleep? Go work at Microsoft, ya pansy!
  • To take risks – that is what innovative entrepreneurs do: go in directions that no one has before. You’re the first, so there’s no guidebook. You’ll have to make your own way – and solve your problems creatively, and within your available (and often limited) resources. Set your path; and be ready to change direction.
  • To be persistent – entrepreneurs have an uphill climb, especially at first… and then it gets even harder. You’ll fail —often. You’ll hear “no” much more than you could possibly imagine. Learn, then look ahead – not backwards.

“Failure is success, if we learn from it.” -Malcolm S. Forbes

Your career choice shows that you already have passion, drive and enthusiasm. You’ll also need to delve into a part of yourself that is yet un-tested – the unwavering self-awareness that mistakes, setbacks and failure are necessary (and good) components of your entrepreneurial journey.

You’re setting out to be a successful entrepreneur; creating your own way in the world independent of economic or environmental circumstances. From now on, “Failure” is your F-word, and I applaud you!

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