"Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed."
I understand. I understand how it feels to be beat down time and time again, forcing yourself to get back up. I understand the exhaustion and demotivation, the fear of repeating the same errors, the confusion, the frustration and the endless irony and injustice that the world seems to keep spewing at you.
I understand because I’ve been there, and occasionally I still find myself there. Yet I still find the strength to get up and keep going, a skill I never thought I’d be able to hone. I’ve discovered what gives me the strength to just keep looking ahead and not even glancing backwards for a second. The secret is that I’ve stopped waiting to feel motivated. Motivation will never just show up, no matter how much you’ve been searching. It’s being productive that keeps me going, because either way, win or lose, I will see results, and I would’ve learned something that will make me prosper.
When things just aren’t working
So you’ve tried and failed, several times in fact, but it seems that every turn you take, every answer you think you have, turns into yet another road block. Is this ‘a sign’ that you shouldn’t continue with your endeavors, or are all the steps falling into place that will best prepare you for what’s to come? The more mistakes you make, the more you fail, the more you will learn. Instead of taking these road blocks as ‘a sign’ to quit, take it as a means of learning how to pivot and start making those strategic decisions that mold you into the dynamic entrepreneur you know you are.
A great example of an entrepreneur who turned a pivot into an empire is Steve Jobs.
A little insight into Mr. Steve Jobs
Since high school Steve Jobs has shown in interest in gadgets and electronics. A young Jobs, still in high school, already displayed traits of entrepreneurship when he boldly called William Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard, to ask for parts for a school project. Mr. Hewlett, far from being annoyed by this unabashed teen, was impressed with Job’s chutzpah and offered him an internship at Hewlett-Packard. This is where he met his business partner Steve Wozniak. After high school Jobs enrolled into Reed College in Portland, only to drop out soon after.
In 1975 Jobs and Wozniak decided to set up a workshop in Job’s parents’ garage which they named the ‘Venture Apple’. This is where they began to work on the prototype of the Apple I. To generate the capital required to fund this venture, Jobs sold his Volkswagen microbus and Wozniak sold his prized Hewlett-Packard calculator. Nothing was going to stop these two from achieving their goals!
Business started to boom until the 80’s when competition started to rise, and sales started to decline. In the face of declining sales and impending disaster, Jobs pulled out all the stops and tried everything to bring Apple back from the brink of collapse. All Job’s ideas were swept aside by none other than his own CEO John Sculley, who he happened to hand pick to help him run the business. This caused tremendous clashes within the Apple board and Jobs was eventually booted out of his own company.
Instead of wallowing in his own self-pity, Jobs decided to tackle this situation head on and founded NeXT Computer CO. where he created a revolutionary computer. In 1988 the NeXT computer was introduced which boasted noticeably better and faster innovations. However, regardless of the stellar innovations, the computer was priced too high for consumers to afford which meant that the company would not be able to stay afloat. The irresolute Jobs then decided to go in another direction and switched the company’s focus from hardware to software.
He also thought outside the box and expanded his business to animation, where he set out to create the first computer-animated feature film for Disney. Queue, The Toy Story, a smash hit after it’s release in 1995.
After purchasing Pixar Animation Studios in 1986, he decided to take Pixar public in 1996, ten years after the purchase. By the end of the first day of trading his share of the company had reached $1 billion.
Not only did he hit it big with Pixar, but the very company which had booted him out, Apple, bought NeXT Computer Co. for $400 million AND reappointed Jobs back into the company he had founded, as the advisor to the new CEO Gilbert F. Amelio. This was a move that Apple had to make, as Apple shares had dropped by 5.3% and they were desperate for Jobs to help pivot the company sales, just like he did his circumstances.
And he certainly delivered. Under his guidance, Apple boasted sales of $5.9 billion by the end of 1998.
How’s that for a comeback!
Jobs was able to pull the company that he founded and loved so dearly, back from the brink of disaster and prosper beyond what he possibly could have imagined.
This is a classic example of how ‘the sign’ was not to quit while you’re ahead, but to take these lessons and pivot in a direction that will take you far beyond the limits that only exist in your mind.
How do you develop the type of mindset that will take you from the brink of disaster to the path that you should be taking?
5 Keys to the success of an undaunted Entrepreneur
Jobs as a young teen showed this trait when he contacted William Hewlett. Mr. Hewlett’s position and influence did not faze him in the least. After all, what did he have to lose? What could be the worst thing that could happen, that Mr. Hewlett would simply say no?
Jobs understood how trivial it is to fear people of authority and influence, when it is these people who can get you to where you want to be faster than you could ever do on your own. And it worked.
When you have the confidence and self-esteem of someone who believes in themselves unequivocally, others can easily pick that up and they will treat you according to your own belief in yourself, as this is what you will unwittingly portray.
How do you believe you should be treated? Do you believe you should be treated with respect and dignity, or are you another talker with no action to back it up? When you show that you have drive and self-confidence, you will be treated as someone who has something to offer, and not just a passerby.
2. Success is directly proportionate to work
The most incredible, innovative and creative idea will absolutely go to waste if you do not work to get it out there. As with any success story, you have to put your ideas in motion. Put in the time and the effort to make it work, the bulk of the work will only be in the beginning. But it will make success all the sweeter when you finally start to see the fruits of your labor.
John H. Johnson said, “I believe the greater the handicap, the greater the triumph.”
When Jobs was kicked out of his own company, this could have been his greatest downfall, yet it turned into his greatest triumph.
Preparation does not only require planning and education, it also involves the preparation of body, mind and soul. When you prepare yourself for possible long days and nights of grinding labor, the mental work of strategizing and problem solving and the task of remaining grounded when you have reached that inevitable milestone of success, you are well prepared for the road less travelled.
Don’t overthink these things, they will come naturally as you go along, but don’t go in blindly either. Take steps to gather information, seek out the right people who can help you learn and grow and steer you in the right direction. And finally, do some soul searching, it will help you determine your strengths along the way, strengths you never thought you possessed.
How easy it is to say you’re going to make a change, or you’ll do something that you really don’t want to because you know there will be discomfort involved. But how do you get yourself to stop saying and start doing, and keep enduring the discomfort until it becomes so comfortable, it’s like second nature?
The discomfort comes mostly from lack of knowledge. It is daunting to do something new and foreign, and it becomes even more daunting when things start to go wrong, and you’re supposed to fix what you’re already not sure of.
The process of self-discipline requires planning and organization. If there’s something you know you have to do but have no idea how to do it or you just don’t want to go through the discomfort of doing it, pick up a pen and paper. Write down what you the problem or what the discomfort is that you will be facing. Now find some educational material or a knowledgeable group or individual to help you figure this out or find a way to lessen the discomfort to what you can handle and work your way up to the next level. Note down your progress, when you look back you will be surprised at how far you’ve come.
Most people believe in the 21-day rule, where if you do the same thing for 21 consecutive days you will have formed a habit. I don’t know the validity of this philosophy; however I know that when you do things consistently, you will start to develop a better understanding, you will have become stronger and you will have prospered. This is also easier said than done.
Start small, by accomplishing one small benefit producing activity for the day. Cook a healthy meal, go for a walk, read some educational material, start working on that website you’ve been wanting for the longest time. Whatever it is that will benefit you, just do it consecutively until you feel less discomfort and more confident.
What do you think are the keys to success? Is it all about action or does it start in the mind?
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