To find our calling in life, we must first rule out that which does not fit.
Success is never a straight-and-narrow path.
If it were that easy, we wouldn’t use words like “work” and “hustle” to describe the climb to accomplishment.
Often, however, I see many people make the incorrect assumption that success means never, ever failing along the way.
In my experience that is the opposite of the truth.
As more young aspiring entrepreneurs approach me in my day-to-day life asking for advice for how they too can start their own company, I always have the same piece of advice for each and every one of them:
The key to succeeding is failing fast.
This may sound like counter-intuitive advice, but hear me out.
Not every idea or strategy is going to work.
No matter how amazing you think it is.
No matter how good you feel about your recent plan of attack for achieving your dreams:
The biggest thing which separates those who achieve from those who do not is whether they admit defeat after a failure, or pick themselves up time and time again to try the next thing.
Be the person who continues to get up, time and time again.
No matter how hard or how brutally life knocks you on your a**, don’t stay on the ground and admit defeat. Life will always be a series of obstacles and things we can stumble over. That's something that is simply unavoidable.
Get up and try the next thing. There's always another option or direction to take something -- recalculated and try that next option. Should you stumble again, try the next, and the next, and the next... you get the idea.
Which brings me to my next point:
Success takes a hell of a lot of troubleshooting.
Your journey to success will include far more experimentation than you’d expect.
It’s like dating — you go on dates and feel out another person’s character to determine if they would be a right fit for you or not.
9/10 times they’re not the right fit.
And that’s not the point of the entire experiment.
You’re not looking for the 9/10, you’re looking for that 1/10.
The 1/10 that is the right fit for you. The right path for you. The thing which will take you to the next rung on the latter up to your end-goal.
If we don’t try something, we can’t know for sure whether it works for us or not. When friends have asked me for career advice, I've always offered the same point:
Finding out you don't like something or that something doesn't work is just as important as finding the thing that does.
Be able to exclude the things we thought would work but found out didn't is an extremely important part of progressing forward in just about anything.
We need this data in order to move in the right direction — otherwise, we’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks.
The faster you fail, the sooner you can move on to the next thing.
Like I’ve mentioned above, we’re experimenting with strategies and tactics in hopes that they will get us to our end-goal.
Most of our strategies will fall flat. I'm not being dramatic when I say that either. I quite literally mean that most of the options we try will probably just work out. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but we all need that reality check somtimes.
As an entrepreneur, I know the following fact to be tried and true:
To be most effective with your resources, including your time, you want to find out as quickly as possible whether your latest idea is going to sink.
If we find out early on that the awesome idea that we were sure was going to work out actually falls flat, that’s a good thing.
I know it doesn’t sound like a good thing, but it is.
Because regardless of how much you had your heart set on that idea as the one that would work out for you, it was destined to fail. It wasn’t going to work, out, no matter how hard you tried.
That’s a bitter pill you’ll need to learn to swallow often.
Many an entrepreneur before me, and after me I’m sure, have seen their businesses ultimately fail because they refused to abandon ship with an idea which clearly was not capable of carrying them to where they wanted to go crumbled beneath them.
They went down with the ship, simply because their inflated ego and own stubbornness would not allow them to admit that they were wrong about their “gut feeling”.
The smartest ones will see the inevitable coming, and will get in that escape boat and paddle away in search for the next boat to board and test.
So there you have it — success is a journey of failures until you find the path which seems to finally work out.
If you’re interested in getting to your end-goal as fast as possible, be prepared to fail as fast as possible.
Because as uncomfortable as failure is, it is inevitable.
Pretending fairlure doesn’t exist in no way serves us, it will only hurt us in the end.
Collecting our failures is even more important than collecting our successes. We have to know what doesn’t work so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes over and over again, and waste our precious energy.
To know what fits best in our storyline requires experimentation and intentionally discovering that which does not fit.
So, are you ready to move forward and fail fast?
I hope so. It’s within your best interest to continue on with that mindset.