Failure from the Entrepreneur Point of View

Isn’t failures what makes entrepreneurs grow? The attitude of “Yes, this failed. Lets try it this way now.”. We see what is not working, and we are willing to pivot to try new things.

We value our time and know we have to learn from our failures to not waste that valuable resource. As Soichoro Honda did in a previous blog, he went and learned from his initial mistakes. Thomas Edison could have felt like a failure at a young age, but his mother nourished his education which allowed him to create great things to change our life even to this day.

We also apreciate the Albert Enstein quote of “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”. We know we must tweak our approaches and learn from our failures to reach our highest goals.

Failure – Edison

Thomas Edison was another failure. Only lasted three months of official schooling due to his wandering mind, and his teacher felt he was “addled”. His mother then took over his education and taught him at home. He then developed hearing problems at an early age.

This addled young man grew up to have 1,093 patents in his name as well as creating the phonograph, motion picture camera, and a practical light bulb.
When asked about failing at making the light bulb so many times before success, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”.

Failure – Honda

Timeline for Soichiro Honda, the found of Honda

— 1937 worked as a mechanic but decided to get financing from an acquaintance and founded a company to make piston rings. After a few initial failures, the company he founded won a contract to supply piston rings to Toyota but lost it due to poor quality. After this, he attended engineering school (did not graduate) and visited factories to understand Toyota’s quality process.

— 1941, Honda was able to mass-produce piston rings acceptable to Toyota using automated processes even for the “unskilled wartime laborers”.

— WW II found Honda’s company taken over, demotion from president after Toyota bought 40% of company, and he had to aid the war effort by working with other factories on automation. His own factories were bombed, and he sold what was left to Toyota.

— 1946, he founded Honda Technical Research Institute with a staff of 12 working in a “shack”. They started building “motorized bicycles” with purchased engines. When they ran out of purchased engines, they started building their own.

How about that for failures and an “overnight success”? Poor quality overcome only to have factories bombed and selling the remaining parts of his original dream to only go in a totally different direction and produce what is now motorcycles.

Celebrating Failures

Last night, I went to a workout class that I had not done in years with my youngest. She has always been interested in it, so I took her to experience it. Since it has been 10+ years for me, I am feeling the aches today.

As entrepreneurs, we know we have to keep mind, body, & spirit in sync. It is not all about work but also about keeping our perspective. Needless to say with such an absence, I felt like a failure in class.

We know we are going to have failures. In a daily podcasts that I listen too (, the interviewer, John Lee Dumas, will ask the various entreprenurial interviewees a failure that they had and how they got through it.

Entrepreneurs will see failures, and we are not afraid of it. We know as the risks are high, but the success will be even more lofty. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Why we do it – Spiritual

One of the interesting items from the podcasts that I listen too is the number of successful people who speak of meditation as being so important.  Get their focus on the spiritual side of their lives which has brought them peace.

Maybe this should not be titled “Why we do it”, but really, what gives us the power to do it.  In entrepreneurial life, we have roller coaster of emotions.  I can build the system a customer needs which has me riding high and within minutes, start the work at the bottom of the next project.

I do a daily devotion, pray often, and find Bible study & church important on Sundays to keep me going.  One of the Entrepreneur on Fire podcasts had the interviewee talk about his priority is on giving first and success is secondary to him.  Due to that attitude, he felt success came from his wanting to give to something greater than himself.

Why we do it – Community Service

As part of being an entrepreneur, giving back has become a strong desire to me.  I also see this desire in a member of my mastermind group.

My daughters wanted to take emergency medical training.  I put on hold many of my entrepreneurial project to take it with them.  Also, my family has been heavily involved in local volunteer ambulance for years.  In June, I became an EMT, while my oldest gained her certification in August.  It was probably the best project I have been on for my entrepreneurial venture this year.

Would it be enough to be successful but not giving back?  When I look at the volunteer ranks of the ambulance, fire departments, charity staffs, church boards, etc….., it seems success and independence is not enough.  Giving back to communities and organizations when so many blessings have been afforded to the entrepreneur seem to be a great desire for many.

Why we do it – Gym Story

Doing some community service with other groups, one of the crew from another group spoke to me about his own change in work.

He went from car dealerships to part owner of a gym.  He spoke about realizing his kids are young and not having any time for them, so he is taking a leap and going independent.

Often, we overlook that time is a valuable resource.  In project management side of my job, I see this resource as the most wasted.  We will never gain our time back.  It is a continuing diminishing commodity.

As an entrepreneur, we know we must manage and utilize this valuable resource, so we have more time for what is important.

Why we do it

Why do we do it?  Why push ourselves in chasing our dreams?  Why dream the entrepreneurial dream of independence?

When I review my goals, it always comes down to independence first.  Using the independence to work in areas that I love.

I am fortunate.  I love programming, which I do full time for a company.  I also have this company, RD Concepts, to nourish my entrepreneurial spirit.  I view the company that I work for full time as my client as well as employer.  It helps the positive attitude toward a job.

We all want independence to be our own person.  To gain extra time.  To do what we have a passion for.

My change from “There is nothing more we can do”

We as entrepreneurs can do more. We are self-reliant. We know changes come from us. Our “can do” attitude makes us winners.

At one time, I hated a job I was at. I came to my senses to find the problem with the job was my attitude going into it. I now listen to multiple daily & weekly podcasts, read business books to increase my knowledge, and a daily devotion to bring added peace to my spiritual life. Every day, I try to do something for professional growth. I try to never have the “There is nothing more I can do” attitude.

We, as entrepreneurs, control our lives and our destiny. We will to do what others feel is the “impossible”.

Changing “There is nothing more that we can do”

I was with an organization going through very stressful times. The CEO/president/founder stood up in a company meeting and told of another stressful period for the company. He went to the documentation manager who happened to be working late one night and told him of the problems. The manager looked at him and point blank and said problems and attitudes usually start at the top and flow down to the lower levels. The CEO took it to heart and tried to be the change the organization needed.

What a great lesson the CEO learned, and the company has lead their field since the 80’s due to this attitude that change can be made. In this case, the CEO, as being the leader of the company, made the change in himself and his attitude that flowed throughout the organization to continue as leaders in their market.