You Won’t Always Win
A most painful reality on the path to entrepreneurial success and how to manage it.
My son is a big basketball fan. He’s one of those people who could give you an analysis of all the top players in the NBA on every team and cross reference it with former top players. In a recent conversation, we talked about Michael Jordan and LeBron James, and what that matchup might look like.
Matchup of the century, right?
The thing is that no matter how committed they are to the game, no matter how much they train, no matter how skillful they are, there can only be one winner. Only one person will take home the trophy.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you know this. On the path to entrepreneurial success you won’t win every sale. You won’t win every negotiation. Not every initiative that is pursued will result in success. And no matter how many motivational quotes and videos you watch, your situation won’t change.
But you will.
I’ve been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years. I have had what I sometimes think is more than my share of losses. These losses have changed me. They’ve made me stronger, wiser, and tougher. They’ve taught me to measure success in increments. They’ve taught me not to compare myself or my company with other people or other companies.
Most of all, they’ve taught me that this is just part of life. It’s not personal. It’s not the “crap that always happens to me.” It’s not God being mad at me.
It is just life. And I didn’t die.
One of the things that has always impressed me is those “fail videos,” where someone is doing some sort of stunt (perhaps on a bike, in a car, or on a skateboard) and they crash. I am talking about the ones that were being done long before people started doing stupid videos just to get views. The “fail videos” I appreciate are the ones people take to show off something amazing that they accomplished as a result of hard work and commitment.
Their goal wasn’t likes for doing stupid things, but rather to show that they had achieved a certain skill level in their craft.
But they didn’t win – at least this time around (when I watched it). My guess, however, is that they didn’t give up. My guess is that they kept trying until they got it.
As a business owner, not winning isn’t the end of the world. There is always more to learn, more muscles to build, and more ways to get to that level you are pursuing. While we as entrepreneurs will never pursue loss, it is our responsibility to learn from it, understand where our weaknesses are, how and why we failed, and find ways to adjust and execute.
- Recessions will happen.
- Employees will quit.
- Partnerships will break up.
- Clients will leave.
- Money will be short.
- Debt will pile up.
- Things will look hopeless.
- People get sick.
- You will want to quit and get a job.
I have seen a lot. One of the most important things that I’ve learned is that entrepreneurial success isn’t the result of a short term sprint. It is a marathon.
You won’t die. I haven’t.
Put one foot in front of the other. Celebrate your incremental wins. Keep moving.
My name is Rick Meekins. I am a Management Consultant that helps entrepreneurs and business owners of emerging companies build extraordinary businesses – those that are well-run, stand out in the marketplace, offer great products and services, make a positive impact on their communities, are results-driven and leave a lasting impression. If you’d like to learn more about how we can you and your company, register for a free consultation at https://coffeeandaconsult.com.