Fail to succeed. In an instant, how do you interpret this phrase? Does your mind skip directly to the idea of failure as the end result, or do you perceive failure as a means to success?
Like the proverbial lens through which we view a glass as half empty or full, we often see what we want, or are predisposed, to see. One of the earliest life challenges I faced along the journey to becoming the leader and CEO I am today was learning to view failures as the path to success. Everyone fails at some point in their career, and the technology sector is no different. In fact, failures often lead to success in technology.
Don’t get me wrong, accepting failure is a skill developed over time and did not come easily for me at first.
Little did I realize the complexities of scaling technology, especially as a young “geektrepreneur” looking to take over the world. My first test arrived when I was in my early teens (and people were still using computers with black and green screens and no graphical interfaces). Having talked my way into developing a basic point-of-sale system for a local shop, I eagerly set to work creating a database system. It worked well in testing with 10 transactions in total (after all, how many sales could a shop ever make?), and it was quickly put live. But I hadn’t considered the speed at which transactions would result. After a few weeks, the system dramatically slowed and then came to a grinding halt due to the transaction load. A business had become dependent on my software, and they couldn’t operate.
I was bombarded with frantic calls and ordered to fix it before the next business day. This was a huge blow for me; my reputation was on the line, my self-confidence was in the balance and trust had been lost. Worst of all, I had the near-impossible task of rewriting the system from scratch in under 24 hours. I fixed it ......... but it took years off my life.
The real testament to my leadership and drive to succeed was how quickly I picked myself back up and continued to move forward.
Today, as the CEO of LeadBolt, a global ad company at the forefront of mobile technology and innovation, it is inherently understood that pioneering involves risk. It is crucial for my team to feel empowered to test the limits and take on new challenges without the fear or stigma of failure.
Here’s the truth: the more failures you have, the more you learn and increase your chances of success.
Experiencing multiple failures means that you persisted and never gave up. I recently read scientific proof that the human characteristic of resilience is in fact the opposite of depression (not happiness, as we all assume).
Resilience — how we react to situations in life and our ability to bounce back from obstacles — is what makes us happy.
Entrepreneurship is appreciating that failures are opportunities to learn and grow, and having the resilience to fail as many times as possible in order to figure out how many next steps you need to take in order to succeed. Sometimes being an industry leader and innovator means it never gets easier, it just gets better.
Don’t just take my word for it – tap into AICC membership to ask other business leaders from across Australia and Israel about what personal traits they rely on to fuel their success. For inspiration, Tel Aviv is now the No. 2 startup ecosystem in the world. It has more startups per capita than anywhere else, and it has 61 companies on the NASDAQ. That’s more than Europe, Japan, Korea, and China combined! Surely these business leaders know a thing or two about resilience, learning from failure, and coming out stronger for it.
By participating with AICC, you’re already demonstrating entrepreneurial qualities and setting the stage for success. The relationships you form will become your support network, and this community will encourage you as your first “failure” turns to opportunity.
Tell me: What do you mark as your most significant failure, and what lessons did you learn from it? How did that failure shape your approach to business — and life in general — moving forward?