I inspired someone today…
I can’t tell you how good that makes me feel…
Because I don’t even know him personally…
He’s someone who has started reading my blog. And something I said inspired him to spring to action and get something, anything, done today.
That makes me feel great.
Because the reality is that I do want to inspire…I want to be an encourager. I want to be an average guy who says what you’re thinking, because I have thought the same thing.
You just haven’t wanted to voice it out loud.
But I will.
Because I want you to act.
I want you to do that thing that is gnawing at you…
That thing that you want to start but you don’t because you might fail…
And heaven forbid that you should fail at something.
Yesterday, I was at Starbucks…big surprise…and I was talking to another one of the regulars. He was set up as usual-with his laptop and an earpiece to handle Skype. He was obviously a businessman who likes to get out of his real office and use Starbucks as a virtual office on occasion. His name is Mike.
Since we are both regulars, we have gotten to know each other a little. So I decided to find out more about him. It turns out that Mike owns a company that processes credit card purchases. Although he doesn’t classify his company as a big player in the credit card market, he said that they processed about a billion dollars worth of purchases last year.
It turns out that Mike had been an executive VP for a multi-national corporation until 9/11. The terrorist attacks left him with a phobia of flying internationally. He retired from the corporation, took his retirement package, and went into business for himself.
What fascinated me most was when he talked about the companies he started up over the last 11 years that have failed. He talked about doing market research, location analysis, pro fromas, and getting all positive feedback on the data. But when the companies went live, they failed.
Mike is a failure.
That would tickle me to no end if I were not a failure too.
Some of the greatest characters throughout history were failures.
*Even the briefest biography of Lincoln focuses on his personal history of defeats. There were so many. Lincoln failed in business as a storekeeper. He failed at farming. He failed in his first attempt at political office. When elected to the Illinois legislature, he failed when he sought the office of speaker. He failed when he sought an appointment to the U.S. Land Office. He failed when he ran for the U.S. Senate. He failed when his friends sought his nomination as Vice President in 1856. He again failed in an attempt at the Senate.
Lincoln is the only U.S. president who holds a patent – he devised a contraption to get boats unstuck from river sandbars. Once he won his patent, he failed to get his invention manufactured. When he was nominated to lead the newly formed Republican Party in 1860, his nomination was a long shot that came about not because the party leaders were excited about Lincoln, but rather because the supporters of three other candidates fell into bitter dispute.
What an incredible failure this man was. But we don’t think of him that way, do we?
You know why?
Because all of that failure led him to become one of the greatest presidents in history.
My Starbucks buddy Mike is a failure. He has failed in business.
And now he owns a business that processed over a billion dollars in credit card payments last year.
Most credit card processors take around 2% for their cut on a sale.
I did the math.
Mike’s company made over $20 million last year.
Not bad for a failure.
So, are you a failure?
Come on, you know you are…
But that’s ok…
Because it is only by being willing to fail are we able to succeed.
Albert Einstein once said, “He who has never failed has never tried anything new.”
Albert Einstein failed high school algebra…
We don’t think of Albert Einstein as a failure…
But he was…
And then he became a success.
So, what’s it going to be? Are you going to sit there and do nothing?
Or are you going to get up and go try something…
Because the only real failure is when you stop taking a risk.
The breakthrough’s coming…
So get out there and try…and fail…and try again…
It’s the only way to really succeed.