You Have to Lose to Win

I listened to an early-stage founder, John, describe how he wanted to emulate a successful founder, Bob. John excitedly recapped Bob’s journey. John was planning to follow a similar path to success with his young company. But I noticed that John’s recap began where things had begun to go well for Bob. I know Bob’s story well. He endured years of painful failure. As I listened to John, I realized he didn’t know the full story. He’d only heard the happy parts.

I told John about Bob’s failures. He was surprised. He’d thought that an entrepreneurial journey that was only up and to the right—a string of successes—was conceivable.

Most successful people have failed miserably, but they kept at it. Failure is usually an important part of accomplishing anything great. What you learn from failure often creates the foundation needed for success. Put another way, you often must lose to win.

If you’re looking to do something great, prepare yourself for failure. Instead of letting it get you down, look at it as an education that took you one step closer to success.