Embracing Mistakes

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Let’s face it, when you a make a mistake how many of us think it’s a blessing in disguise at that moment? Not many. But on the road to success there are potholes and detours on our journey. A mistake can be one of them but they are essential in the building of your pyramid to being the best you can be. How can you achieve world domination without a lesson or two?

My daughter got this fortune last night with her birthday dinner. She is eight years old. When she read it at first she didn’t understand but my husband explained it to her and she immediately got it. “I got a great fortune!”. Maybe sometimes we really do need to tap into our inner child!!

All of my contacts who are successful have admitted they are not perfect and have made mistakes. You know the old saying: when one door closes, another opens? For Steve Case that was what happened after he left a stable Fortune 100 job to move to Washington DC to work for a company called, Control video. When he had his first board meeting, he knew something was wrong, “At my first board meeting, one of Control Video’s investors
looked at the weak sales and quipped: ‘You’d have thought they would have shoplifted more than that.’ The company was collapsing.”

Did that deter Steve? Heck no!!! Instead of going back to a safe job,Case and a few of his team members started a new company called Quantum Computer Services in 1985. The company eventually became America Online. Case told me he values the highs and lows in life, “We were taking lessons learned from our GameLine experiences and focusing on PCs instead of video game machines. We learned the hard lesson about bringing a product to market
in a consumer world where it’s very expensive to build a brand and get distribution and so forth, so we decided to partner with PC companies
and use their brands and have them take the lead and spend the money. I think it’s safe to say that without the failure of GameLine, there would have never been the success of America Online.”
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Let’s be honest, no one can really predict the future. If we could, we would all be billionaires!! There may be signs of things to come, but sometimes we are blinded by our passion to succeed. It is a powerful force within us. We need to learn to keep our eyes open, and, if we make mistakes, learn from them. Case is no different from you or me in this respect. “In retrospect, the company [Control Video] made a lot of mistakes,” he explains as he looks back, “but out of those mistakes, and that failure, I learned a great deal about what to do, and what not to do. Those lessons helped teach me how to start a company, how to grow a team, how to build partnerships, and much more. I believed so passionately in the promise of a new interactive medium that I wasn’t ready to give up just yet. So I said, ‘Well, let’s figure out another way to come at this.’”
Case could have tucked his tail between his legs and gone back to corporate life, but he didn’t. Instead, he and the former GameLine crew
figured out the way to tap into the consumer by partnering with PC companies, leveraging the PC brand names and money in order to create
the online community they were striving to build. They saw something and learned how to achieve success through experiencing failure.

What you can learn from Cases’s story? It doesn’t matter if you are an entrepreneur like him or you are working your way up the corporate ladder—passion and fearlessness are two key ingredients to success. Success can be born out of failure. Leaders face adversity head on—they know what they’re up against and acknowledge their strengths and weaknesses. Today, Case invests and advises some of the upcoming and successful entreprenuers like Brandi Temple of Lolly Wolly Doodle.

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Remember to always pay forward! 🙂

So that’s what my daughter is doing today. Sharing her good fortune with you this morning to remind you that hey, it’s ok to make a mistake. Learn from it and grow!!!

Please order a hard copy or Kindle version of my book Opportunity Knocking Lessons from Business Leaders.

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