You’ve been working long and hard toward your goal, doing all the right things—networking, following up, researching, writing, coding, fundraising etc.—all the things you need to do to succeed in your personal endeavor.
In spite of all your efforts, you’re nowhere, nada, none, nil or, as the French say, nul. On a scale of One to Success you’re a…One. All your efforts and $3.75 will buy you a mocha frappuccino. And to that I say, “Great! Super! Bravo/Brava!” (place sound of crowd-goes-wild here).
You read me right. Congratulations. Big goals take big work and big work includes setbacks, disappointments and frustration along the way (Rome wasn’t built in a day—1,009,041 days is more like it). If you’re experiencing all of the above yet still trying then you’re right on track for success.
Did you know:
- Inventor Nick Woodman had two startup failures: EmpowerAll & FunBug (which lost, gulp, $3.9m of investor money) before hitting it big with GoPro. (Nick: Hello Investor? I’ve got some bad news and some badder news…)
- Over the course of 15 years, James Dyson went through 5,126 failed prototypes and his savings before completing his first bagless vacuum. (Hey, Dad, can you come throw the ball with me? Oh, I would love to son, but I’m…prototyping).
- Oprah Winfrey was fired from one of her first jobs because she was “unfit for TV”. (Oprah who? Oh, Oprah Winfrey. Right, that Oprah.)
- Steven Spielberg was rejected from USC film school, twice. (Apparently, he didn’t make the…List.)
- C.S. Lewis received over 800 rejections before he sold a single piece of writing. (I’m on 792, just sayin’).
I cite these five random failure/success stories from various industries to make the point that when it comes to success, persistence far outweighs talent. Does talent matter? Sort of (Fifty Shades of Grey, anyone?) Does persistence matter more? Yes. The ability to continue trying in the face of rejection is what separates the winners from the whiners.
Time for an analogy:
Remember those wind-up toys from when you were a kid? You carefully wound the stem and, with great anticipation, placed the toy about a foot from the wall just so you could see it take a few jerky steps, then bang, bang, bang. What joy, what fun! What was always a little miraculous to me was, if you left the toy to its own devices (and it had been wound enough), it would eventually turn. Little by little, bang-turn, bang-turn until finally the toy had a clear path and was off again.
Just so we’re clear, this wind-up toy is you (and me). While in pursuit of your goal, you will (or may have already) hit a wall. You’re a little exhausted, maybe dejected, perhaps a tad depressed and it seems like there’s nowhere to turn.
Time to give up, right?
Why not, you ask? Because you’re stronger than that. Because you really want this. Because you have already worked very hard and will continue to work hard until one of three things happens: you succeed, you succeed or you succeed. Capisce? I thought so.
It’s ok to give up…for a day. Or a week. Maybe even a month. Go on a surf trip like Nick Woodman and come with back renewed energy, a brighter perspective, better ideas and stronger execution. Get back to work on your 5,125th prototype because as we know—Eureka!, I mean Dyson!—is right around the corner. Carry on.
In need of life, dating and relationship advice? If you liked this post drop me a line, post a comment, tell your friends and check out my latest book: “There’s a Pattern Here & It Ain’t Glen Plaid,”:
“. . . laugh-out-loud funny . . . great practical suggestions . . . A quirky, earnest guide to regaining self-esteem for the modern woman.” —Kirkus Review