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3 stories that put failure in the right place and lead to my success


Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from making the right progress. Your path to success won’t be perfect, but you’ll get there with enough motivation.

April 14, 2021

5 minutes of reading

Comments expressed by Businessmen the contributors are their own.


In the 1980s, my wife, two business partners and I developed a company to make over $ 2 million in annual revenue. Not money, but not bad for two kids in their twenties (one of them doesn’t have a high school diploma – I). That is something to be proud of. Unfortunately, the four of us did not have the experience to handle internal conflicts that led to rapid development. Combined with the stress of having a first child, my wife and I decided this was the right time to make the necessary changes.

1. Factory reset

Not only did we not settle things with our business partners, but we also failed to successfully negotiate a departure arrangement. In the end, we left with less shirts on our backs and about $ 2,000 in savings. We drove an old car (broken about a dozen times) around the country and stayed with our grandparents in Michigan until we were born.

From there, we started over. With perseverance and a bit of luck, I stumbled into the position of a struggling consulting firm that desperately needed a passionate young executive. After a year or so and several promotions, I was a Senior Vice President of a company that became an Inc. company. 500. Our previous business failures seemed like a distant memory, and only in retrospect did I realize that they paved the way for chances. However, I have yet to complete the failure.

2. A fresh start

With more experience, I started another business in 1995. After a few years, everything went well. Really good. By year six, we have a target of $ 20 million in annual sales and are in talks with several Wall Street companies for a . The company’s valuation is likely to be as high as $ 100 million. After that, everything changed on September 11, 2001.

This is a very difficult fall from above. Again, we found ourselves packing up and starting over. Yes, that’s the best of me So far – I’ve built a splendidly successful business. In another sense, it is Fail not yet. I don’t know how to manage or how to steer the company through the disruption after 9/11. I gave up the role of CEO of the company and let my employees, family and business associates down.

Related: Why failure is essential to success as an entrepreneur

This time we withdrew not enough money to pay for a house half the size of the house we live in. Back in the square, I decided to try something new: real estate. I’m networked, persistent and lucky (2002-2006 is one of the best times ever in real estate). For three years, I owned $ 30 million worth of property in the area. The complete and terrible failure of my previous business – but again – turned out to be a stepping stone.

3. The final chapter

I have more business failure stories (everyone knows about the real estate crisis of 2008), but I think a more relevant story could be my first failure story. . My wife and I did a lot of things together: we run the business and raise our kids. I don’t understand why we can’t make it work. And the more difficult it is to get married, the harder it is to get divorced. I hate it.

I told myself one thing: I won’t get stuck here, reenact all the battles and feel sorry for myself. By this point, I have learned that there is always something else ahead, and I am determined to focus on my future and that of my children and look for it. I succeeded, eventually meeting and marrying someone with whom I found even deeper levels of satisfaction. Injured. So many, so much. But what comes next more than makes up for it.

On every path to success, there are bumpers and potholes

The idea of ​​failing on the road to success is not a new one – lots of better writers than I have tackled it. “Fail quickly and fail often“Is a hallmark of the culture and identity of many companies. In about making the obvious, not failure is the difficult thing. Failure alone cannot magically lead us to success. Instead, it is our attitude toward the future and the number of times you get on and try again that makes a difference.

When you fail (to some extent unavoidable), start by considering exactly what you did wrong. And after that, Don’t do that anymore! It doesn’t have to be a dead end. Better look like another bump in the road. I have learned to look back at my failures with admiration; it’s about contemplating adventure and difficult lessons to learn. Why do you give up? You will never see what happens at the end of the story.

Related: The line between success and failure is positive thinking

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