Last week I was at Café Sevilla sharing coffee with an entrepreneur who recently launched his company. We were discussing the struggles and challenges he had along the way and how he dealt with them. In the middle of our conversation, he said to me:
“Matt, it seems that every business you start takes off and is a success right away. You must have the magic touch.”
I immediately laughed out loud when he said this, because it is 100% not true! I then shared with him the many failures and shortcoming each one of our companies has experienced over the decades. I shared with him that I have failed many times, and that failure is necessary for success and growth.
After we had coffee, I kept thinking back to the statement he made, and what I observed from that reflection is the thesis of this week’s blog: Why failure is a must for every entrepreneur and small business leader.
Failure is a must for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Why? Because it teaches us lessons; hard, painful, and potentially very expensive lessons. It teaches us lessons that a mentor or coach could never teach us, and it teaches us lessons that success never will. Looking back on my failures in business, I notice that experiencing failure firsthand, in deep and pride checking reality, leaves a story with me that is more tangible than reading about the same failure experienced by another entrepreneur.
Example, in 2010, M & E Painting, made the INC 5000 list as one of the fastest growing companies in the US. Sounds like a win right? WRONG! That year we lost A LOT of money. We spent more than we made in chasing the dreams of expanding our name, brand, and top line revenue all over the state of Colorado.
Now, I have read articles of entrepreneurs that grew too fast, lost lots of money, and what they did about it, the lessons they learned, and how they overcame this adversity. So why did I not learn from their mistakes? While reading about the stories of others in third person, there is a disconnect from you as an entrepreneur going through it in first person. However, going through this myself, live and in person, rooted the experience for me much more deeply than reading about somebody else doing it ever could.
Failure shows you what not to do. It also celebrates you for trying and giving yourself space and grace to try and miss the mark. Be sure when you fail that you forgive yourself, learn from your failure and move on to make a new attempt.
Challenging and encouraging you to be brave, be bold, be courageous, and be vulnerable. Go after the big goals, big dreams and make sure you fail and learn along the way.
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Remember three things:
I love you.
I believe in you.
You’ve got this.
Now go get it!