Knocked Down, but not Knocked Out

It is rare that successful people trumpet their failures.  Most communication effort seems to be centered around the applause-winning successes.

However, I came across a business publication which included some compelling failure-lessons:

  • Endeavor (a global organization for high-impact entrepreneurs) learned you can’t always win.  In the business mantra, “Go big, or go home,” we need to spend a lot more time on the second half: “Go home.” Knowing when to shut down a failed initiative is as vital as knowing when to start one.
  • Three lessons from a Humane Society activist: (1) Don’t declare “mission accomplished” too early.  (2) Trust, but verify.  (3) Court both adversaries and allies, and use self-interest as a motivator.
  • Mohammed Ali teaches the studio chief of Colombia Pictures that “getting knocked down is part of being in the business.  It’s inevitable.  But once you know you can get up, no matter what, you become stronger and resilient.”
  • After surviving extraordinary challenges in a failed attempt to scale Mount McKinley (aka “Denali”), a mountaineer found that “nothing I have faced in business or in my personal life—nothing—has seemed insurmountable.”

These and other stories of success and failure can be found at the Harvard Business Review Failure Chronicles.

Another article (from candidly discusses the impact of entrepreneurial failure on the owner’s personal life.



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