Why You Need to Fail
Failure is not a final destination (unless you choose it to be) — failure is an endless journey that moves us continually, and uncomfortably forward, not backwards.
Every entrepreneur with a failure under his/her belt has at least a half dozen excuses for why the dream just never materialized.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda…dissolved.
Failure is a key part of entrepreneurship, but, as with all things in life, attitude impacts outcome and this is one of those cases.
Startups are not only the biggest test of our abilities to execute on a market hunch, but more deeply, test the limitations of our own mind. They fully test everything we think we know about ourselves — from our deepest fears to our highest hopes — and most startups fail in the mind first, and the market second.
Startups are like a bittersweet video game — you go through this sort of struggle for months (or years) on end to launch something you *hope* might work, to then rise up to the next level in the game to then refine it so it does work, to then rise up again to an even higher level to scale it to work for more people.
The journey is the best part. If you fail too early, and give up, you never really get to experience the best parts of it. If you launch and give up because of low usage or low sales, you never experience the joy of having thousands of people use something that you built with your mind and heart — a true gift to the world.
If you only listen to this one piece of advice from me, listen to this — regardless of your startup’s outcome, enjoy every day you work on your startup with the people around you, relish the journey, and no matter what level you get to in the game, know that you can always start over and win on the next go-round.
I’ve personally learned more from all of the thousands of failures – product feature hunches that ended in mediocre results, e-mail blasts that fell on deaf ears, product pitches to buyers I thought went well that ended in them ghosting me, investor meetings that never delivered a term sheet, interviews with prospective employees that ended in me wanting to hire them but not being able to afford them, websites that broke when more than a dozen people used them at the same time, the list goes on and on.
I am grateful for all of those experiences — in the moment they royally sucked — but post mortem, they forced me to grow the fu*k up really quickly, tackle the problem, and keep moving forward.
Embrace your failures founders. Learn to love them. Grow from them. Get past them faster than your peers. Learn the lessons faster than your competition. Re-group, execute, and win in round II.
This is truly the secret to success — getting past your own problems faster than everybody else can, so you get to where you truly want to be.