Learning From Our Mistakes – Planning To Start Over

By Lawrence G. Chester

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We have all made mistakes. But have you made any monumental ones? Have you made either a personal or business decision that was so horrific that it cost you dearly, either in terms of money, time or relationships?

The fact that you made one isn’t the issue. To me, the issue is how you recovered from it, how you returned from the disaster, how you started again. If it wasn’t possible to recover from those monumental errors, the streets would be littered with people, businesses and personal tragedies. We all read about millionaires that have lost their fortunes many times and found ways to start over and succeed. What is it that allows some people to lift themselves up and start again?

From a personal point of view:

  • Surround yourself with friends – After you’ve had a monumental failure, don’t isolate yourself. You need people who believe in you and will support you as you find the mental strength to start over.
  • Give yourself time to mourn and then get going again. Take a few days – DAYS – to feel sorry for yourself. Then get up and start putting your plan together. Nothing creates positive energy more than putting a plan together and making it happen.
  • Believe in yourself – You have to have the confidence to make your plan happen. You’re the one responsible for it. You can get support, but you’re the one that has to do the work. If you don’t have that confidence, you will second guess every decision you make. That’s not the path to success.
  • Keep things in perspective. No matter how bad the failure is, it’s not the end of the world. Focus on the good things in your life, and use them to regain the positive attitude you need to move forward.

From a business perspective:

  • Do something that helps others. Find an opportunity to make others successful. If you can do that, then you have something to sell. By making others succeed, you can truly make yourself succeed as well.
  • Know your numbers. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the amount in your bank account, the sales from last month, or the profit you made on the last sale. The numbers show whether you’re succeeding or missing the mark. If you know your numbers, they will guide you to do better.
  • Realize that success is a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone marvels at the businesses that became successes overnight. Excuse me, but there were years of planning and development before that overnight success. Plan for the long haul. Be strategic. What will be the step AFTER the one you’re working on? Chess is a game of planning multiple moves ahead. Your business is just a different kind of chess game.
  • Share your vision. Nothing succeeds like enthusiasm. Become your own cheerleader. Tell your story to everyone you know. If you believe in yourself, they will believe in you.
  • Network, Network and Network some more. You can market, you can sell, you can advertise. But when you’re starting out, or even while you’re growing to the next level, your business will grow more from personal referrals than it will from one more ad, one more click, one more free premium.

I once heard a story about Tom Watson, the iconic leader of IBM from 1956 till 1971. He had hired an executive and gave him $10 million to start a new division at IBM. It was a dismal failure. Watson called the exec into his office and sat him down. Watson asked him why the exec thought he was called to his office. The exec replied, “you’re going to fire me.” Watson responded, “Hell no, I just gave you a $10 million education. Now I want to see what you learned from it.”

Use your failures as a stepping stone to your next success. If Tom Watson thinks it’s a good idea, you should as well.

 

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