The number of “success strategies” I’ve read, or tips to “survive in business” I’ve consumed have helped not one jot in my career. For all the books and advice that get gobbled up by eager entrepreneurs, there’s no better path to success than the actual experience of failure. Sometimes, you just have to close your eyes, hold your breath and take a leap of faith.
Every day I wonder whether leaving my fun, cushy job six years ago was worth it. I was well set, reasonably successful in what I was doing and, most importantly, enjoying what I was doing. But in a pique of “I see no future here” I walked out with a colleague and started my own company. What a rollercoaster that’s been.
No two days are the same. Every month is a whirlwind of work and worry. It’s enlightening and terrifying, edifying and erratic.
Nothing quite puts you on edge when you’re the one responsible for other people’s salaries and livelihoods.
But it’s been more than I could have ever have imagined as a life experience. Doors have opened and closed. New directions have been taken… and then quickly abandoned.
Of all the learning curves, the experience that often gets glossed over in glossy magazine pages or instructional texts (and I dare say, university courses), the one I’ve taken most encouragement from is failing. Falling flat on my face. Freaking out. Fucking up. Four steps forward, six steps back.
It happens more than you’d think, and how you bounce back from life and businesses’ little rejections will determine how successful you are in the end and whether you’re able to battle it out forever, or retreat back into the cosy world of relatively sheltered employment.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging. Survival of the fittest is not for everyone. That’s what the books and the advice gurus don’t tell you. They’ll sell you the dream of standing at the helm of your own preposterously successful ship. But they’ll skirt around the real issues of stormy waters – the knocks to the confidence, the absolute beating that a series of rejections meats out to your psyche, the struggle to get out of bed when you see no light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a brutal wake-up call.
Perseverance is the key, that much is obvious.
But don’t be fooled, because Perseverance is an iron-willed bitch that won’t bend to your rules.
She’s the complete and utter opposite of her two sisters, Hope and Enthusiasm. Those two are easy to get along with. They’re magical, mystical creatures who welcome you into their embrace. Perseverance is hard. She’s taciturn. She’ll look at you from across the room, tease you, tempt you, but to break her down you’ll need all your wits about you.
Every job I’ve ever applied for, I’ve failed to land (maybe I should just give up!). Coming back from that is no easy feat. The doubts creep in. Confidence gets battered and self-belief, so crucial to success, gets trampled.
That’s why you have to fail to move forward. If you can bounce back after a series of defeats then you’ve done it the hard way. You’ve been on the ropes and you’ve roused yourself to deliver the knock-out blow. That’s your success story. Not the pot of gold at the end of the ATM, but rather the route you took to get there.
Source: David Moseley