In business school at the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University through the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities Family program, I learned I’d have to get comfortable failing. They told us how most businesses wouldn’t make it five years. Someone will craft an idea and before it’s out of its infancy it’ll die.
That’s a thought you have to get comfortable with in regards to entrepreneurship. Chances are you’re going to make a lot of bonehead moves. Why? Because even with Google at our disposal and even when you take time to really think things through be it through meditation, decision making trees, research and more, there are always nuances you can’t control. Or sometimes you’re just having an off day and on those days you still have to perform; you just perform sub par. One of my professors, Neile Godfrey, told the class some hysterical stories about failure including getting her dress caught in her underpants while on her way to a business meeting. I watched a video of Carly Fiorna, CEO of Hewlett Packard talk about how she once had to walk across a stripper’s stage to get to a business meeting.
We all fail. Even the best of them.
So to celebrate a lesson I learned in school and am now living through entrepreneurship, I’d like to share a couple of knucklehead moves I’ve made and what I learned from them.
Today I accidently hit the check box in Mailchimp and auto tweeted countless fundraiser tweets and this past month I got a lousy haircut right before I was asked to model for White House Black Market through Bent Creek.
In these two situations I learned sometimes tiny little errors don’t really matter and most people won’t judge you as harshly as you do yourself.
Those are tiny failures but I have experienced some gigantic ones, too. I have learned the hard way that if I make excuses, accept things for what they are instead of trying to change, remain disappointed in myself or get too comfortable where I am I know I am heading for a big failure.
I have learned as a consequence, not to make excuses. That’s one thing I feel is a strength of mine. I don’t make excuses. I fess up and take my lumps. Sometimes the lumps are gigantic. Once it cost me nearly $40,000. But I fessed up and I took the financial hit and the lesson from it. I made a mistake. I’ll know better next time. It’s okay to make new mistakes, just try not to make the same one over and over again.
I failed when I couldn’t get a former CEO to understand that someone in his environment was toxic and as a consequence, he and I don’t have a relationship anymore and I trusted his advice. But I failed, I think mainly out of fear, and I learned from it.
Last year I failed in that I was so disappointed in myself, I couldn’t stand it. I think part of it was grief and healing from surgery and the other part was that I was disappointed that my entire life changed and I could do nothing to save it, though I tried. But through this I have learned that once I let go of everything and stopped feeling disappointed that life didn’t unfurl as I thought it should, I realized just how lucky I had become.
Finally, I made the mistake of getting too comfortable with success. I went gangbusters in a stroke of serendipity and thought running a business would always be that easy. So if I am honest with myself, I slacked off and as a result, sales slumped for a time being. I failed. But I learned.
So today I have failed in a small way and that’s okay because we all fail. I’ll just try to fail better and differently the next time around because I still have the hope that sometimes the mistakes are really successes in disguise.
About the Author
Named Top 100 Leaders by 2012 Magazine, Jasmine Grimm has been nominated for Central Penn Business Journal’s “Top 40 Under 40,” and The Lancaster Chamber’s ATHENA Award.
Jasmine founded Ruby, Inc. a personal styling business that teaches women how to dress for their body types and became a two-time nominee for Inc. Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 Top Young Entrepreneurs in America. She won the 2013 SCORE Business Development Award, won the Central Penn Business Journal’s Top 25 Women of Influence Award in 2013 and the 2013 Leadership Award from the MS Society.
She has been a popular guest lecturer at the Maastricht Institute of Entrepreneurship and has been featured in Under 30 CEO and Productive Magazine, was the cover story for Harrisburg Magazine and her writing has graced National Geographic Television and Film, Harvard University and more.
She’s a 5,3,8,3 on the Kolbe A Index and her strengths include input, relator, learner, responsibility and achievement.