One of the greatest gifts my parents gave to me was permission to fail.
My parent’s gift wasn’t overt, rather one I recognize when I reminisce of bruises and stitches, bad friends and broken hearts. While some of my actions have had unexpected results, I also learned to clean up my messes, reflect on the lesson and always try again.
Before my 30th birthday, I must have made every mistake in the Entrepreneurial Handbook (hint: there isn’t one). I’ve made poor decisions, trusted insincere associates, entered unfavorable contracts hastily, allowed budget and time overruns, overcommitted, overdepended, underdelivered.
Thankfully, my parents also taught me to learn from my mistakes, a lesson that’s made me tougher and wiser. I can see around once blind corners and smell trouble before I step in it. I put my faith in adequate strategy and planning based on clear goals and intelligence. I also trust my instincts to know when to pull the trigger, even if shooting from the hip. And through my missteps, I’ve heldfast to a healthy sense of humor.
Innovation and progress are often born from failure. Indeed, failure is an important element of life. Like the virtues of sacrifice and suffering, failure bears fruit. Those who understand this can cope, adapt, improvise, even flourish and overcome. The adage is true: that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
I’m proud to say my mistakes were made from ignorance and missed expectations, but never malice. I always acted from a position of honor and integrity, even at the detriment of my personal income and goals. The proverbial road to Hell may be littered with the best of intentions, but zero-tolerance for mistakes is generally not the best business policy outside of rocket science and brain surgery. Instead, I can be proud of my accomplishments and maintain self confidence when striving for success.