Last week I received that dreaded phone call that comes from the same family line as the tiny envelope university rejection letter:
Ring…. Ring…. Ring….
Me: Stephen! How you doing?
Stephen: Doing great Jun…
Me: Did you get my email? I had an amazing time interviewing with Damon and Jim yesterday. Feeling real good about it.
Stephen: I’m glad to hear it… here’s the thing. Don’t got the best news for you. After a real tough decision, we decided to give the offer to someone else. You were good, but the other person had previous experience at Universal and has been in the industry for 6 years now. I’d love to stay in touch though…
For about 6 hours that day I felt horrible, useless, and like an utter failure. With no hope in sight, I decided to bask in my failure and feel sorry for myself. And then suddenly, as if it were meant to be, I remembered that Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi had a live webcast that night, so I decided to get up, sit by my laptop, and feel sorry for myself while watching Tim and Ramit (at least somewhat productive). The session was nothing less than a paradigm shift.
1. Feeling sorry for yourself is the worst thing you can do
How many times have you done something wrong and then felt sorry for yourself because you wanted someone to take pity on you. I have, you have, and it just seems like it’s human nature to want someone to console us in our time of failure. This is the absolute worst thing that you can possibly do! If I had stayed in my room and sat there feeling sorry for myself all day, then I would have never watched the Ramit and Tim webcast that changed my out look on life. If you sulk around everytime you fail, then you’re going to miss lots and lots of opportunities that show up in front of you. It really is true: for every door that closes, there are a couple that open. Make mistakes, keep your eyes up, and look for that opening door.
2. Absolutely everyone fails; the winners are the ones who keep getting back up
During the webcast, Ramit and Tim joked about how many times they have failed. Ramit has a goal to fail at least 3 times a month! He has a goal to fail! The point here is that we only see the successful side of successful people. We don’t see all the hard work and failure that the successful person has had to go through to reach the level that he is at. This is what separates the entrepreneurs that are going to succeed, from the corporate employees who had an entrepreneurial seizure. If you become an entrepreneur, you will fail. I absolutely guarantee that you will fail with at least your first couple of ventures. The true mark of a successful entrepreneur is the sheer drive to punch failure in the face and keep trying until you do succeed.
3. Life is not about hard work, but effective work
For a while I felt like I needed to work hard every single second of my life. I did it to a point where I was working so hard that I would ignore and neglect my family. And you know what, I did it with a sense of pride because I thought this is what true entrepreneurs did. Now I look back and laugh at myself. It’s not about the hours that you put it, but the actual results from your hard work. The key is to avoid getting distracted by all of the online tools available to us: Gchat, Twitter, AIM, Facebook, and many others. Turn off your chats and TweetDeck, turn off the TV, and focus on working hard and effectively for 4 hardcore hours in a day. I guarantee you that you will be able to finish what you need to do, and be able to spend the evening with your family or girlfriend.
I am truly an entrepreneur at heart. I always knew this, but the rejection from the corporate firm solidifies it. Now that I can look back at it with a smile, I realize that I would have been utterly miserable if I entered the corporate world again. Sure I’d be making a lot of money, but I would ultimately feel empty and unfulfilled working for someone else.
Entrepreneurs of the world, take each failure as a badge of honor! The more you have, the more likely your big success is right around the corner!
Jun is the Founder and CMO of Future Delivery where he is the host of Awesome Bloggers, the show that interviews the greatest young bloggers. His personal blog, How to Succeed as a Young Entrepreneur, gives a real, unfiltered view of the Startup Life so that current and aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from his successes and mistakes.