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Life can be tough. As my mother used to wryly remind me, “No one gets out alive.” We all have plenty of less-than-perfect moments. Not even the most gifted, telegenic and charming people live every day in the sunshine.
The same is true for entrepreneurs. Just as “bad things happen to good people,” every great entrepreneur regularly stares down the barrel of failure.
Graham Weaver, the founder of Alpine Investors and a frequent visitor to my business classes, reminds would-be entrepreneurs that the only failures they should fear are the ones of character and effort. It’s an uncertain world, and there are only so many things you can control. Even when you’re giving 100% and doing your best to be an honorable and ethical leader, things go wrong.
What you can control is how you deal with those setbacks. However stressful failure can be, if you pick yourself up and get back on the horse, you’ve passed the real test.
And when you do, you’ll start to see more silver linings than you expected. In pushing through failure, you’ll learn who your real friends are – the ones who know what you’re made of and believe in what you’ll do next. You’ll discover reserves of energy, persistence and confidence that you didn’t know you had. And you’ll feel a new sense of creativity, the ingenuity to solve hard problems, that might have remained fallow without the challenges.
One way I’ve prepared for my own unanticipated, but nonetheless certain, failures is by memorizing these 10 quotes:
(1) “What does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, 1844-1900
(2) “Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.” Samuel Johnson 1709-84.
(3) “Sweet are the uses of adversity.” – William Shakespeare, 1564-1616
(4) “When it’s darkest, men see the stars.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882
(5) “Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.” – General George S. Patton, 1885-1945
(6) “When the well’s dry, we know the worth of water.” – Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790
(7) “A certain amount of opposition is a great help to a man. Kites rise against, not with the wind.” – John Neal, 1793-1876
(8) “Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” – Anon
(9) “He knows not his own strength that hath not met adversity.” – Ben Jonson, c. 1573-1637
(10) “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes playing a poor hand well.” – Jack London, 1878-1916
One last quote I always keep nearby is this one from Theodore Roosevelt — about the value of “daring greatly”. It’s an excerpt of a speech he gave at Paris’s Sorbonne in April, 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
It’s nice to remind yourself that anyone who fails at trying to do something great is in pretty good company. This group knew that the best dreams can often temporarily disguise themselves as nightmares – better to press forward and leave the fear behind.
Thanks! @JoelCPeterson – Followers, be sure to follow him.
I would like to add a few others that inspire me …
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
– Peter Drucker
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t so you can spend the rest of your life like most people cant.”
– Warren G. Tracy’s student
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Albert Schweitzer
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison
“Never, ever ever ever ever give up.”
Make it a great day!
~ Preston Byrd
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Steve Jobs was fired from his own company; Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison; and Abraham Lincoln failed in business, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in eight elections. So how did all these people achieve such extraordinary success?
We all know of business leaders, authors, celebrities, and sports stars who after a brief moment in the sun hit rock bottom only to rise again, overcome adverse circumstances, claw their way back to the top, and inspire the world around them. The stuff of legends and Hollywood movies, these comeback stories are incredible to hear. But when failure is fresh, and it’s yours, it’s often hard to believe that recovery, let alone success, is possible.
From rejection to workplace screw-ups, everyone has experienced that all-too-familiar gut-wrenching numbness. Even small failures can stalk you like a dark cloud, causing others to question your abilities. Worse, it can seriously undermine your self-assurance.
In my early years in business, I nearly drove a company I had founded bankrupt. I betrayed my own values and goals and lost everything, including the support of many important people in my life. However, it was from this adversity that I discovered the three keys to overcoming failure:
Responsibility: Be Your Own Master
Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison before becoming the first President of South Africa to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. During his time in jail, he kept a scrap of paper in his cell that contained the words of a poem by William Ernest Henley, entitled “Invictus.” It ends with the famous lines, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
To make it through times of extreme adversity, you need to embody these words. Take responsibility for the results you create in your life, and keep agreements with yourself. They are at least as important as agreements with others.
Self-Acceptance: Find Peace with Yourself
From his eight election failures to the civil war, perhaps no U.S. president suffered more hardship than Abraham Lincoln. But throughout his presidency he remained steadfast, and was even quoted saying that if by the end of his term, “I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.”
Always show loyalty to yourself. Embrace your weaknesses and shortcomings, but work to turn them into strengths. You cannot control the negative opinions of people around you, but with self-acceptance, you can block out the noise.
Trust: Listen to Your Gut
As Steve Jobs once said during a famous commencement speech, “You have to trust in something. Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well worn path.”
Human beings are often irrational, but you should always trust your intuition and your instincts. Make your judgments based on experience and listen to your gut. Understand that you will make wrong decisions and you will fail but that, without these experiences, you’ve never truly lived.
How Great Leaders Overcome Failure
Having the skills and the wherewithal to rebuild your platform requires you to 1.) take responsibility for the bad result and negotiate your way out of it, 2.) refuse to be deterred by a set-back that five years from now will be nothing more than a great learning experience, and 3.) proceed with utmost integrity using both your heart and your mind to guide you along the road back.
As the leaders of corporate organizations and entrepreneurial ventures, we put ourselves on the line every day. Adversity is always looming, and the opportunities for failure are ever-present. Things can break in the most unlikely of places (sometimes totally beyond your control), but you still own the result.
When you hit rock bottom – and you probably will at some point in your life – rely on the package of skills that gets leaders to the top in the first place. I call these the Skills of Engagement™:
Owning the result
Influencing obstructionists, the timid, and the disengaged
Negotiating a favorable outcome
Also remember that you will not be able to make the climb back to the top alone. Assembling a stellar team and defining an interpersonal dynamic based on the Skills of Engagement are the building blocks of your resurgence. If you mix these with a little unabashed charisma, you may even take pleasure in the challenges of the journey back.
The great paradox is that the people who enjoy the most public successes often endure the greatest private failures. However, these leaders understand, and even expect, that storms will come their way. They also realize that it’s how they handle the dark moments that gives them the internal strength to shine during their brightest ones.
So stand tall when you hit rock bottom, and focus on the wise proverb “this too shall pass…” While it might not seem like it at the time, with responsibility, self-acceptance, and trust, you can leverage the Skills of Engagement and overcome even your greatest failures. -by: Keld Jensen
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“Before success comes in any man’s life, he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat, and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. More than five hundred of the most successful men this country has ever known told the author their greatest success came just one step beyond the point at which defeat had overtaken them.” -Napolean Hill
Sometimes all it takes to conquer a difficult situation is sheer will and determination.
Not much beats this seemingly superhuman power that allows you to do something extremely difficult when faced with an unbearable challenge. This pure passionate effort can be tappped into and, in many cases, works to help you excel beyond your natural abilities or circumstances.
The extremely great news about willpower is… the power is within YOU. This means, you depend on yourself to ignite this power and there is no need to ask for permission or to rely on others to create the power because it already lives inside of you.
When will stay focused and determined and we never give up on whats before us, we will always come out on top. NEVER GIVE UP!
If you have a goal that you want to accomplish in life, be willing to make sacrifices for it. Everyone wants to sit at the table with the big wigs and make the big decisions but are you willing to do what it takes to get there? In the age of overnight millionaires and billionaires, it seems that everyone wants it now. Truthfully, for the majority, there is no easy route to success. You must discipline yourself through education, hard work and determination. Marvel Comic Hero Spiderman was told, “With great power comes great responsibility, because to whom much is given much is required.” One of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world was Steve Jobs, the creator of Apple. Jobs had to put in much effort, which included both successes and failures along his journey, before earning the #1 spot in the world of technology.
Although Jobs never graduated from college, he studied physics, literature, and poetry, at Reed College prior to founding The Apple Corporation. Using his family’s garage as a base of operations, Jobs and his team produced fifty fully assembled computers that were sold to a local Mountain View electronics store called the Byte Shop. This sale encouraged the pair to found the Apple Corporation on April 1, 1979. The Apple Corporation was named after Steve Job’s favorite fruit. After years of hard work and a few failures, the Apple began to get a little rotten and Jobs was forced out of the company. After being forced out of Apple, he started and founded a new tech company and named it “NeXT”. After Apple limped along for a few years, they offer Jobs his job back and purchases NeXT in 1996 and Steve Jobs returned to Apple to serve once more as its CEO from 1997 until his retirement in 2011.
The technology in NeXT software was transferred to the Macintosh and later into the iPhone. Since Jobs return to Apple as CEO in 1997, Apple Computers has had a renaissance in product development with the iPod, iMac, iPhone, iPad and more. Before his death, Jobs was listed as the inventor and/or co-inventor on 342 United States patents. It took Jobs more than a decade to achieve the level of success that he did. In the words of Steve Jobs, “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” You may not be at the table where you can make the big decisions but one only accomplishes earning a seat through perseverance.
In Conclusion, there is no reason to be envious of others success, instead study the blueprint of those who are successful and learn how to put all of the dots together to create your path to successful future. If you take this approach, you want be given a seat at the table, you will create the table that will seat others.