Success & Failure

By · January 21, 2013 · Filed in Business Philosophy, News & Thoughts

Anyone who tells me they have tried and failed gets the same response: “Congratulations”

It isn’t that I’m insensitive.  I just happen to see great value in failure (and people who learn from failure).  One doesn’t become an expert marksman or a genius inventor without failing more times than they succeed.  If you can still walk, breathe, eat, crap and clothe yourself after a failure, what have you really lost?  Your failure isn’t going to eat you…it just smacks you around a little.  You’re not dead – you’re smarter.

I would also like to reassure potential clients that I have never failed for a client (I actually have great track-record).  I have, however, experienced countless failures as a result of things I took on myself (or with a team that was willing to test the waters with me on an “idea”).  I openly admit it though – The thing I’ve personally invested most in is “failure”.

Some of my greatest ideas and efforts resulted in my most expensive failures.  I simply consider it tuition (paid to “The University of Mark Mahar” – I’ve rung up quite an acumen from that institution).

Those failures - which I funded myself (or that our team has tested at our own expense) - are precisely what every MEINC client is getting when they hire  us.  Our consultants are chosen for their failures as well as their successes.  Cumulatively, we’ve achieved some wildly incredible things for pennies on the dollar (or that others said simply couldn’t be done at all).  We didn’t get there without failing.  Companies don’t typically admit their failures, but I see no reason to hide behind them.  It is this willingness to punish ourselves (in order to improve the chances of success) that our clients NEVER have to be a “test case”.

For every product, service or licensing deal that feeds me, there were 20 before it which took food off my table.

Similarly, every dollar of exploitable value that our team sees in distressed properties (real estate, planes, businesses, brands, commodities, etc…), exists because of how the product of failure/adaptation equals success.

As a business owner, inventor, artist, etc…you have probably tried and failed more than you want to admit.  Is there not value in those failures?  You are good at what you do because you can run across the minefield of your industry or craft (at a full sprint – doing in a matter of seconds what would take someone else several intense and fearful hours).  Why is that?

With rare exception, success is just a collection of failures which are put to good use.  Failure is an opportunity to learn.

I try to learn something every day.  I embrace failure.  Failure is my friend.

Failure is wisdom.  Learn, adapt and succeed.

In business, the easiest manpower recipe for success is to rent someone else’s failures (and rely on them to make it look easy).  That’s why we hire experts.  That’s how we make it look easy.  That’s why our clients hire MEINC.

As an apprentice Carpenter (15 yrs old) I learned a valuable lesson - There is no such thing as flawless work.  The important thing is to achieve a flawless looking result.  It is how well you adapt to your inevitable mistakes that makes you a craftsman.  EVERYONE makes mistakes.  Not everyone knows how to dodge the big ones or salvage the small ones (or hide the irrelevant ones).

The point of all this is that no MEINC client should ever feel shame in communicating a failure.  The fact we’re talking about it means we’re about to resolve it (learn from it and adapt to it…closing in on success).

(Failure+Failure+Failure+Failure)       = Success
(Learn+Communicate+Adapt)

1. Know the difference between an exercise and a mission.

2. Always treat an exercise like a mission or it isn’t worth the exercise.

2. Never treat a mission like an exercise unless you’re prepared to throw a whole lot of resources at it. 

3. Communicate (failure & success – allowing people to learn and adapt).

Either way, congratulations are in order.

-Mark

(reprinted from 1/21/11)

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