An opportunity to more wisely begin again
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When something doesn’t work the first time, we are tempted to globalize our disappointment.
Sometimes we define the task as impossible and just give up. Sometimes we define the idea as impractical and switch gears to something more proven and safe. Sometimes we turn inward and define ourselves as incompetent.
But whatever our response is to that initial failure, the result is the same. It becomes harder and harder to build upon the momentum of our own actions.
Hoffman, the founder of several of the most successful tech companies in the world, makes several great points about this issue one of my favorite business books:
Identify the things that can kill you and engage them sooner. Failing fast is much better than failing slowly, since it enables you quickly to pivot, iterate and redeploy capital.
His words remind us that whatever capital we have, financial, human, social, energetic, intellectual, and so on, we are only able to reinvest that capital once we have gathered the necessary data that only failure can provide.
Imagine two entrepreneurs. Both have an idea, both execute it, both get their assess handed to them by the marketplace, and both are disappointed.
But one of those entrepreneurs starts brooding and ruminating and doubting herself, to the point that her productivity and attitude quickly plummet into the ground. Because she believes the failure was an affront to her abilities.
Meanwhile, the other entrepreneur thinks to herself, well shit, that didn’t work. What else can we try? Because she knows that her failure is not permanent, pervasive or personal. It happened, it sucked, and it gave her useful data for how to approach it the second, third, fourth and fifth time.
Sandeep, one of the founders of my startup, summarized it perfectly. He was telling me about his experiences in acquiring tech companies. You’re not going to be right about every idea, and if you end up spending too much time thinking about that, you’ll drive yourself crazy.
Lesson learned, we don’t have to tackle the entire world on our first time out. Let us take our little spark from the first move that started and the first, and it breathe enough to grow.
Let us take action, fail quickly, correct our own mistakes by collecting information on adversity we encounter, and repeat until we win.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Do you treat failure as the fuel for beating yourself up, or as an opportunity to more wisely begin again?