Why Failure is an Entrepreneur’s Best Friend

An open letter to my fellow entrepreneurs:

In life failure is inevitable. Sure it hurts, it’s made fun of, and it’s pushed to the side because no one really wants to hear about failures only the success stories.

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  • But it’s unavoidable…especially for the entrepreneur.  It’s no secret that half of all new businesses have failed before they reach their fifth year. And though the numbers do vary, the truth of the matter is, many entrepreneurs do not realize their dream.

    But whether you believe it or not, failure is actually a good thing when used correctly. When I feel a little down about one of my ventures, I like to recall this famous quote by Helen Keller:

    “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

    If you look at the definition of the word entrepreneur it’s clear that risk and new ideas are at the core of its meaning. The word “entrepreneur” is derived from an old French word “entreprendre” which means “undertake.” So an entrepreneur is someone who undertakes some venture, enterprise, or idea and assumes responsibility for the outcome.  So in reality, a true entrepreneur is NOT solely in the business field.

    An entrepreneur can be…

    • An author wanting to change the world
    • A speaker wanting to make a difference
    • A musician working to be famous
    • An artist striving to be known
    • A leader wanting to take an organization from good to great
    • An athlete yearning for greatness
    • Or a college dropout wanting to become a business mogul

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  • The boy scampered to take the tiller from Borric, while the Prince raced the mast.

  • Since this is identical to the charge that Vorkosigan here has managed to so luckily evade, this presents me with a certain problem of justice. It is difficult not to draw the conclusion that today's shooting incident is directly related to our arrival.
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  • Welcome to Euterpe, Risky said to Michael as she threw open the cellar door and scrambled up the steps. The Germans are dangerous but they are not maniacs, people assured one another.
  • The main criteria is this: taking the path of MOST resistance and assuming responsibility for the outcome

    But no matter how great the entrepreneur…they’ve had failures. In fact, what makes them “great” is that they’ve failed MORE times than everyone else!

    So here’s a list of some of the great “failures” the world has ever seen:

    • R. H. Macy failed seven times before his NY store caught on
    • Michael Jordan failed more than he succeeded, lost over 3000 games, missed over 9000 shots at goal, and 26 times he missed the winning shot
    • Henry Ford filed for bankruptcy with his first company – Detroit Automobile Company
    • Lady GaGa had doors slammed in her face, DJ’s who didn’t want to play her records, music execs who thought she was nuts, and she was signed to Def Jam Records but then was dropped after 3 months…before she sold more than 15 million albums, 51 million singles worldwide and became one of Forbes most powerful celebrities.

    In closing, I question the role education has in creating entrepreneurs… but I can never question the role the “school of hard knocks” has made in my life.  I believe with all my heart that an entrepreneur is someone who has an innate ability to dream and do!  I urge you to keep dreaming and keep doing!

     
     

    What Business Women Wear Makes a Difference

    Too sexy. Too frumpy. Too conservative. Women can’t get a break when it comes to what they choose to wear to work.

    A female sports reporter covering the NFL was recently raked over the coals for wearing form-fitting outfits on the job, prompting players to make rude comments. Hillary Clinton and her colorful pantsuits became the butt of late night talk show jokes for months.

    So what is appropriate female work attire? It should be common knowledge by now that what you wear to work can impact your career and whether or not you get a job. The boss is watching what you wear and so is everyone else even if they don’t say anything.  In fact, I read recently that 93 percent of managers said how you dress at work influences them and one third said work attire “significantly” impacts your chances for advancement.

    While men also face this issue, fashion and workplace experts said, it can be harder on women. Professional women are expected to find a subtle balance between many different elements of their look.  They face criticism if they are too frumpy — Janet Reno or Hillary Clinton — or too sexy —Ivanka Trump. Their clothes can’t be too expensive — Sarah Palin — and they can’t be so attractive that they are accused of making their appearance their most important characteristic. Wow this gets complicated, doesn’t it?

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    Women have way too many fashion choices, while men typically have their “uniforms” including a dark suit for those days the boss is in the office or for job interviews; khakis and a polo shirt for casual Fridays.  While women have to be careful or they will find themselves scrutinized when it comes to what they choose to wear. If an outfit is too revealing, she get a bad rap for sure, but too buttoned up and conservative can mean she’s not hip, or worse, a b@#**.  Women send messages through clothing. It’s referred to as ‘the silent language’ and there are feelings that are often attached to what they wear.

     When you invest money in a work wardrobe it’s costly. And then if you have to change careers or you go from a very casual environment to a Fortune 100 Company (or vice versa) you’re buying a new wardrobe again!  Women are trading up and trading down.  And women are often pressured to take their cues from the trend of the moment. Take the popular series “Mad Men,” for example, which is bringing back retro and vintage clothing to offices nationwide.

    Indeed, one of the biggest issues for women in the workplace is coming off as too sexy. Some research shows too much sex appeal undermines a women’s authority.  You can be elegant and polished while feminine in every sense of the word.  It’s important to dress with style and grace and add your personal signature while keeping in sync with the corporate culture in which you are employed.

    Many would argue that a woman can never be too conservative when it comes to dress.  After all, you’re trying to sell your intelligence, your capability, your education. You can be artsy and trendy, but proceed on the side of caution during an interview, particularly, b y wearing a traditional suit. Once you get the job you can be a bit more creative if you like.

    Bottom line…. It’s incredibly important for women to manage how they are perceived or risk being disregarded by men, who still make up the bulk of the top leadership positions in the workplace. Yes, it’s easier for men than it is for women and that’s unfair.

    It’s yet another reason to get more women into those corner offices. Then we can wear whatever we want.

     
     

    Too sexy. Too frumpy. Too conservative. Women can’t get a break when it comes to what they choose to wear to work.

    A female sports reporter covering the NFL was recently raked over the coals for wearing form-fitting outfits on the job, prompting players to make rude comments. Hillary Clinton and her colorful pantsuits became the butt of late night talk show jokes for months.

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  • Lecz Wilhelm mia intuicj inn i krzykn: Dostaniemy ci, starcze, teraz mamy wiato!
  • And this was not the servants entrance he'd used before. Everything she had been told during her observation of the Hunt, however, indicated that there were always exactly as many mounts as needed for the hunters who assembled.

    So what is appropriate female work attire? It should be common knowledge by now that what you wear to work can impact your career and whether or not you get a job. The boss is watching what you wear and so is everyone else even if they don’t say anything.  In fact, I read recently that 93 percent of managers said how you dress at work influences them and one third said work attire “significantly” impacts your chances for advancement.

    While men also face this issue, fashion and workplace experts said, it can be harder on women. Professional women are expected to find a subtle balance between many different elements of their look.  They face criticism if they are too frumpy — Janet Reno or Hillary Clinton — or too sexy —Ivanka Trump. Their clothes can’t be too expensive — Sarah Palin — and they can’t be so attractive that they are accused of making their appearance their most important characteristic. Wow this gets complicated, doesn’t it?

    advertisement | ad info

    Advertisement | ad info

    Advertisement | ad info

    Women have way too many fashion choices, while men typically have their “uniforms” including a dark suit for those days the boss is in the office or for job interviews; khakis and a polo shirt for casual Fridays.  While women have to be careful or they will find themselves scrutinized when it comes to what they choose to wear. If an outfit is too revealing, she get a bad rap for sure, but too buttoned up and conservative can mean she’s not hip, or worse, a b@#**.  Women send messages through clothing. It’s referred to as ‘the silent language’ and there are feelings that are often attached to what they wear.

     When you invest money in a work wardrobe it’s costly. And then if you have to change careers or you go from a very casual environment to a Fortune 100 Company (or vice versa) you’re buying a new wardrobe again!  Women are trading up and trading down.  And women are often pressured to take their cues from the trend of the moment. Take the popular series “Mad Men,” for example, which is bringing back retro and vintage clothing to offices nationwide.

    Indeed, one of the biggest issues for women in the workplace is coming off as too sexy. Some research shows too much sex appeal undermines a women’s authority.  You can be elegant and polished while feminine in every sense of the word.  It’s important to dress with style and grace and add your personal signature while keeping in sync with the corporate culture in which you are employed.

    Many would argue that a woman can never be too conservative when it comes to dress.  After all, you’re trying to sell your intelligence, your capability, your education. You can be artsy and trendy, but proceed on the side of caution during an interview, particularly, b y wearing a traditional suit. Once you get the job you can be a bit more creative if you like.

    Bottom line…. It’s incredibly important for women to manage how they are perceived or risk being disregarded by men, who still make up the bulk of the top leadership positions in the workplace. Yes, it’s easier for men than it is for women and that’s unfair.

    It’s yet another reason to get more women into those corner offices. Then we can wear whatever we want.

     
     

    Can’t Can Do Everything!

    If you’ve followed me for a while now, you know how influential my mother has been in my life.  Today, I’d like to share a quote my Mom used when I was growing up and questioning my ability to do something.  That pearl of wisdom is: “Can’t CAN DO Everything!”  It’s pretty clear what these few words mean and certainly an affirmation and a call to action for me and universally applicable to anyone who hears them.

    Talk to any manager, supervisor, motivator and ask them what their pet peeve is and you’ll most likely hear:  ‘People who say they can’t. There’s no such thing as can’t.’ I’m sure many people agree with this upbeat attitude while others, quite frankly,  may feel alienated by it.

    I know that human beings are far too rich and complex to be labeled in terms of can and can’t. If managers are to have any hope of motivating their team, they need to figure out where people are coming from. They need to find out why they feel they can’t and convince them that they can.

    Why do people feel they can’t?                             

    There are many powerful reasons for it including:

    • A discouraging family environment. Parents, family and friends may have made people feel that they can’t, whether intentional or otherwise.
    • Illness or disabilities. People with disabilities are often made to feel that they can’t. People may also suffer from chronic depression, which saps confidence.
    • Disappointments and setbacks. If people often encounter obstacles to success despite their best efforts, they may not have the heart to try again.

    As a manager, you may have little impatience for excuses. And that’s as it should be. Figuring out why people can’t doesn’t mean condoning bad behavior. But if you’re an employer, you literally can’t afford not to figure out why people can’t. Firing people is a lot of hassle, with unfair dismissals you then face the expense of possible litigation and eventually of recruiting and training someone new.

    Instead, you can try a few simple tactics for turning can’t into can.

    • Find out why people feel they can’t. If people know that you understand where they’re coming from and that you have compassion for them, they’ll open up and it will be easier for you to help them.
    • Show them that they can. Share with them what you think their strengths are. Nobody is immune to a bit of flattery and it gives people confidence.
    • Give them strategies to move forward. If they’re having difficulty completing tasks, give them the resources they need, whether that’s mentoring, help from another staff member or literature to read up on.

    It may seem like a lot of hassle, but if you take the time to turn can’t into can, you’ll build an amazing team and an amazing business.

    Good Luck!

     
     

    Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…It’s all Small Stuff …at Work!

    Have you ever heard the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff… and It’s all small stuff?”  Or better yet did you read the best-selling book with the same name?  It’s been so successful that a version with this premise has been written regarding the workplace. I have enjoyed both so much and found some of the suggestions to be extremely valuable and worth repeating.  The one I’d like to discuss today advises on the issue of dealing with controlling behaviors in the workplace.

    When I talk about being “controlling,” I am referring to attempts to manipulate the behavior of others, having the need to control the environment, insisting on having things be “just so” in order to feel secure.  When things do not go as the controller would like he (she) becomes immobilized, defensive or anxious when other people don’t behave as wanted–the way they think they should be. To put it in the context of this book people who are controlling “sweat the behavior” of others when it doesn’t match their own expectations.

    I have made several observations about people who are controlling; two in particular. First, there are too many of them. Second, the trait of being controlling is highly stressful–both to the controller and to those who are being controlled. If you want a more peaceful life, it is essential that you become less controlling.

    A person who is controlling carries a great deal of stress because, not only does he (or she) have to be concerned with his own choices and behavior, but in addition, he insists that others think and behave in certain ways as well. While occasionally we can influence another person, we certainly can’t force him to be a certain way. To someone who is controlling, this is highly frustrating.

    Obviously, in business, there are many times you want to have a meeting of the minds, or you need others to see things as you do. You have to sell yourself and your ideas to those you work with. In certain instances, you must exert your opinions, influence, even power to get something done. There are times you must insist on getting your way or think of clever and creative ways to get others to think differently. That is all part of business. And that is absolutely not what I’m referring to here. We’re not talking about healthy, normal attempts to come to a meeting of the minds or balancing points of view. We’re also not talking about not caring about the behavior of others we are discussing the ways that insistence, rigidity, and the need to control translates into pain and stress.

    What hurts the controlling person is what goes on inside. The key element seems to be a lack of willingness to allow other people to fully be themselves, to give them space to be who they are, and to respect–really respect–the fact that people think differently. Deep down, a controlling person doesn’t want other people to be themselves, but rather the image of who they want them to be. But that’s not real life now is it?  So, if you‘re tied to an imagined image, you’re going to feel frustrated and impotent a great deal of the time. A controlling person assumes that he knows what’s best.  Within the need to control, there is a genuine lack of respect for the opinions and ways of others.

    The only way to become less controlling is to see the advantages of doing so. You have to see that you can still get your way when it is necessary, yet you will be less personally invested. In other words, less will be riding on other people being, thinking, or behaving in a certain way. This will translate into a far less stressful way of being in the world. When you can make allowances in your mind for the fact that other people see life differently than you do, you will experience far less internal struggle.

    In addition, as you become less controlling, you will be a lot easier to be around. You can probably guess that most people don’t like to be controlled. It’s a turnoff. It creates resentment and adversarial relationships. As you let go of your need to be so controlling, people will be more inclined to help you; they will want to see you succeed. When people feel accepted for who they are rather than judged for who you think they should be, they will admire and respect you like never before.

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    It is a simple solution, Em, and you wouldn't even have to get your little paws dirty.

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    Hope you find this advice to be truly worthwhile!

     

     
     

    Lead with Respect

    You probably can recite the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus’ gospel parable is a staple of Sunday school classes and Bible studies. By contrasting the generosity of the Samaritan with the actions of the other travelers, Jesus uses the story to teach a core element of Christianity.

    The parable also offers lessons for leaders. Jesus included details in his story that can guide us in caring for the people we lead.

    “But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “

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  • —Luke 10:33-35

    Jesus built three themes into his story that we can apply to our leadership.

    1) Be Bold
    The Samaritan doesn’t do his work anonymously. He doesn’t drop the traveler at the doorstep, ring the doorbell, and run away. Jesus tells us that the Samaritan asks the innkeeper to look after the injured traveler. The Samaritan takes accountability for the traveler’s care.

    We should ask ourselves how we could visibly demonstrate care for those we lead.

    2) Be Generous
    This aspect of the story has always bothered me because it indicates a level of personal stinginess. The Samaritan in Jesus’ story not only gives the innkeeper two silver coins, but declares that he will provide more if it’s needed.

    What do the people you lead want from you? It might be better compensation—an appealing reward whether we’re talking about an exhausted executive or a young upstart employee itching to make a difference. But more often, people want a more precious commodity—your time. Are you able to say to them, “Here are two hours of my time, and if that’s not enough, I’ll be back tomorrow with more?”

    3) Be Committed
    Because I have so many irons in the fire at all times, I have a tendency to meet the minimum requirement, and no more. For instance, I’ve always felt that a pleasant nod to a coworker in the morning is an adequate greeting (and certainly preferable to engaged conversation). In contrast, the Samaritan does much more. He spends the night tending to the injured man, and then arranges to come back to check on him when he returns from further travels.

    The Samaritan makes a serious commitment.

    How do those you lead know that you’re committed to them for the long haul? How can you show that you will not abandon them when the going gets tough?

    The people you lead may not be laying on the roadside stripped of their clothes and injured, but they will definitely appreciate a leader who lives out the elements that Jesus taught in the Samaritan story.

    And Jesus will appreciate it, too. After all, the second greatest commandment isn’t higher profit margins or improved workflow efficiency. You know what it is.

    “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    And who are your neighbors? They’re the people you work with every day.

     

     
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