If you’re early on in your first business venture, here is something you really need to know: Anyone who tells you that you should always know the right decision to make when you’re at a crossroads is a liar. Furthermore, anyone who thinks they’ll know all the decisions to make is an idiot.
When we were first starting out and conceptualizing what our business was going to be, I was so over-optimistic and over-confident in retrospect, even Vladimir Putin would be like, “Wow, is that guy full of himself or what?”
It was so easy to look at our existing competition when we were doing entry planning and think that they were all idiots – that our brand, our product was going to be so superior that we were going to just show up and rock the house, kick butt, take names, go home.
Well, the fact of the matter is, We were the idiots.
Our business has consistently kicked our butt – picked us up, body slammed us against reality, and asked us if we’d like another. And that’s okay. We needed to get our butt kicked. We’ve learned a TON from having our butt kicked that I’m confident we would have never learned otherwise.
And that’s where the power of failure comes in. That’s where the power of risk taking is. We learn infinitely more from our mistakes (why do the best NFL teams study their tapes of lost games?) if we’ll study them and humbly think through what went wrong – than we’ll ever learn from our successes.
In business you rarely have the luxury of not making a decision. Some decision, right or wrong, has to be made, and you have to be willing to just roll the dice and make the gamble. Could it shipwreck you? Maybe. But it could also be the key to a huge success. You won’t know until you make the decision to move.
One thing we can all say for certain though – is when you’re at that cross-roads, if you don’t roll the dice – if you don’t take the risk and make a decision you’re unsure about – you’re risking the business anyway. So breath that in. Let it set deep and firm – if you don’t intentionally make a decision when you’re at a crossroads – you’re unintentionally making a decision to not move forward, which could be the biggest risk of all.
We live in such a success driven society that it’s hard to accept that our failures can actually be good things. It’s easy to fall in to the lie that,”You’re only a successful businessman if you’re successful.” That’s not always true. If you take the time to learn from your mistakes, making the wrong decision will make you more successful later from what you’ve learned.
So throw off any external or internal pressure to always get it right, and just start making decisions and failing faster. Learn from the mistakes and run at lightning speed trying to make your business the best there is. If it all goes under – take a deep breath – learn what you can – and pick yourself up and get going again.
Not deciding is deciding. I’d rather be emotionally and consciously involved in making the wrong decision, then cowering behind indecision and making no decision at all.