The Failure of Success and How to Get There

Most people see success as how much money people have, or the things they own. What about the wealthy people you see who are prisoners of their restaurant, or their business. Are they successful?  In my opinion, true success is defined by how much freedom you have, and how happy you are.  To get that freedom and that happiness, most likely you will go through struggles, turmoil, stress, and depression of sorts.

10 years ago, I was laid off from my comfortable IT supervisory position and at that moment I realized, I wanted to be free from downsizing. I wanted to be free from corporations that control who can pay their bills, and who has to collect unemployment. I wanted to be free from a monotonous schedule, long hours, little free time, and no passion in my work. So I embarked on a mission of entrepreneurialism.  Needless to say, the next 10 years have been the most adventurous and fulfilling years of my life.

I can’t tell you how many times I failed in the past 10 years, because I truly don’t know the number, it’s been that many. Like the time I invested thousands into a business opportunity that I thought was going to make it big, but instead it took me years to unload the inventory and not break even.  Or the time I hired someone to manage my brick-and-mortar business, but he stole from me and my customers (then disappeared). My customers of course were angry at me, and I had to repay them all which means I lost thousands once again. Time and time again, I had to learn lessons, I had to realize what worked and what didn’t.

I’ve become quite an expert at various things over time because I immersed myself into researching how to do things, as well as learning from other people who are experts. I also volunteered a lot of my time to helping people, companies, students, colleges, even the city, to expand my skills, and get better at things by being hands-on. But realistically, being a self-employed entrepreneur can be a bit of a struggle. The way you perceive that struggle is the difference between failure and success.  For example, some would see getting paid $1000 to shoot and edit a corporate video as a failure, because you should have gotten $5000. When I first started out, I would do the math, and realize that in a regular IT job it would take me a week to make $1000 at my job. Shooting a video and editing it might take me two days. So I looked at it as a success.  Perception is everything.

Trial and error, making mistakes, and then picking yourself back up to try again while avoiding those mistakes is the best way to succeed at being an entrepreneur. Giving up is not an option. Even when you have no money, you’re about to lose your place to live, you have no business coming in, and you don’t know how you’re going to eat your next meal, you just can’t give up. Use the struggle as fuel for the fire. All the people out there who said you couldn’t do it, who said you were worthless, use that for fuel for your fire too. Because when you succeed, those who supported you will be there by your side, and when you succeed in a big way, you will be able to support them in anyway you can, either with skills, financially, mentally, or physically.

Most people have great ideas in their heads, but they lack the motivation or the strength to bring them to fruition. I get it, it’s daunting, scary even, to think that you can quit your job to start a business and succeed. But that’s how the world has become such an amazing place, with people who have a dream, and then follow that dream, sacrificing it all, putting everything on the line, for the greater good. The best part about following your dream, is that once you achieve just one piece of it, you realize that you can truly do anything if you put your mind to it. It’s not just your mind though, it’s your body, your soul, your courage, your determination, your motivation, your love, every ounce of your being has to be handed over to your dream.

Above all, never give up.  When you’re down, look at the positives, when you’re sad, think of what makes you happy, when you’re depressed, take your dog for a walk, give him a hug and tell him how much you love him, because he sure as heck loves you.  Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel good about yourself, who are proud of you, who support you, and in that alone you will be successful. The feeling of success is a combination of overcoming failure, while being around the people who love you, and achieving small pieces of your dream until you reach a point where you have accomplished so much, that there’s really nothing you can’t do.

The next time you want to give up, the next time you feel like you can’t achieve your goal, snap out of it, and remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was Apple, Google, or any other successful company. It takes time, determination, support from your loved ones, and the ability to learn from your mistakes and push forward to accomplish your dreams.

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