Looking at Imperfect Outcomes Differently

Today I toured a real estate project a buddy just completed. He’s easing his way into entrepreneurship and the industry. This project was the largest (and most complicated) he’s taken on to date. As usual with construction, it didn’t go as planned, but it’s a financial success. Not as much profit as he’d initially hoped, but a success nonetheless. As we chatted, he kept mentioning how he should have spent less but didn’t know any better when decisions were being made. I realized that his perspective was preventing him from realizing how this project was a win in other ways, too.

The project wasn’t easy. The price of lumbar surged in the middle of it. Labor rates increased, while the reliability of crews decreased. These and other factors led to higher costs and a longer timeline. As each obstacle presented itself, my buddy figured out how to overcome it. It was stressful, but he found a way to get it all done. Tough circumstances, I thought, but awesome learning experience.

We talked about his future projects and what he plans to do differently. I pointed out how much he’d learned and how valuable that knowledge will be. Lots of people pay tuition to go to school to learn what he got paid to learn. In the end, he reflected on where he was before and after this project and agreed. It was a huge success and is likely to be the turning point in his real estate career.

Knowledge acquired through experience (yours or others’) can be a big factor in entrepreneurial success. If a situation doesn’t end quite how you’d hoped, reflect on what you’ve learned from it. The knowledge you’ve gained will be invaluable next time and every time—it’s the gift that keeps on giving!