I wish I’d learnt earlier on that failure is a part of life, and often failure is just a stepping stone to success. No fail can stop you, unless you allow it to.
I was able to take inspiration from the stories of many successful entrepreneurs who had to fight back after major failure struck them down. There were so many great success stories that I’ve read that were able to provide me hope and inspiration to get through my darkest times.
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor.” Truman Capote
Bankruptcy hit me in 2008 and I thought it was the end of my world. Everything I had built up to that point was gone. All my previous successes were now forgotten.
Let me give you some examples that spurred me on:
Milton Hershey, founder of Hershey’s chocolate was only successful in business after his fifth attempt. His previous 4 companies all went bankrupt.
Larry King, the famous chat show host, went Bankrupt twice.
Wayne Newton, the Las Vegas entertainer went bankrupt in 1992 yet went on to sign a $25m a deal with a Las Vegas hotel.
Henry Ford, started the Detroit Automobile Company which went bankrupt before he went on to create the Ford Motor Company.
William Crapo Durant, the General Motors founder took a massive hit during the Great Depression losing his $120 million fortune and was declared bankrupt.
Walt Disney, in 1922 he started his first film company Laugh-O-Gram and this went bankrupt a year later.
H.J. Heinz, began a company that made horseradish, in 1875 it went bankrupt,
Knowing so many entrepreneurs had experienced failures along their way couldn’t but inspire me to believe in what I could still do. At the time of my bankruptcy and repossession of my home who would have guessed I’d go on to build a business where I can’t wait to get to work in the morning, always having a good time while making really good money. Yet I have!
Everyone wants to be a success, and I was no different I felt ashamed by what happened to me and for a while allowed myself to stay in the pits of despair. My life began to change dramatically once I learned to not just live with my failure but learn from it. I came to see that indeed failure Is just a stepping stone to success.
One radical change in my outlook was understanding that it’s not the destination that defines the man but the journey that is taken to get there. I came to see failure as nothing more than a chance to learn and grow, and accepted that no failure need to be final. Where ever I may have been in life, I had it within me to go on and build a successful life, and that’s exactly what I did. Even when we are down we can find the way to bounce back.
“A failure teaches you that something can’t be done—that way.” – Thomas Edison
We owe it to ourselves to accept failure if it comes, and rather than see it as something to avoid, use it as a stepping stone to move your life forward towards your desired outcome.
Failure can be “informative rather than demoralizing. It tells you what you may need to do to make it,” says Albert Bandura, the Stanford psychology professor who in the 1970s pioneered the social cognitive theory of self-efficacy—an inner belief in one’s ability to succeed. When failure strikes, people with high self-efficacy learn from their errors and strengthen their resolve to succeed.
We must constantly work towards advancing our lives in the direction of our dreams passing through, around or over any obstacle that gets in our way. When we get knocked down, we must show the resilience and courage to get back on to our own two feet and persist until we achieve our goals. My belief is the key to ensure failure is just a stepping stone to success is to never give up.
I am willing to put myself through anything; temporary pain or discomfort means nothing to me as long as I can see that the experience will take me to a new level. I am interested in the unknown, and the only path to the unknown is through breaking barriers, an often painful process. – Diane Nyad, marathon swimmer