Everyone has heard the old cliche that in order to succeed, you must fail first. But is that really true? I hate to admit it, but I think it is.
I’ll start with this: failure sucks. No one likes to do it, no one likes to admit it. I will admit, though, that I have failed at many things – tests, sports, trying to fly out of a tree fort – and most recently, two business plan competitions (one for school and one for the states). The Quinnipiac University business plan competition was my first submission into a contest, and luckily I made it to the finals. I ended up coming in second, a formidable showing considering past experience – none. Everyone told me how great it was to come in second … but everyone wants to come in first. The second attempt was on a grander scale, the CT state competition. This time my plan made it to the final four and once again, no win. So what was the problem? Did the plan not measure up? No. It was that I had no experience so I didn’t know what to expect.
In the field of business, how are you supposed to know what works well when you have never done something wrong? This is where the old adage really holds true. Of course, it is always possible to just copy what everyone else is doing, but how do you think they got there? Most likely by trying new things (and realizing they didn’t work). Now that I have had some more experience with business plans and had some mentoring from professors and business professionals, I feel much more confident. More importantly, I know what it takes to make it to the finals and win – hopefully.
Do you have any stories about failure leading to success? Let me know!