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How Can Your Failures Lead to Success?

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Can Failures Lead to Success

I have a confession to make.

I am a failure.

Financially and professionally I am a complete and utter failure. I was naive and foolish and things did not go as planned for me, that’s for sure.

Let me tell you why.

Can you relate to the dream where you want to be financially free? To make your own rules and live life on your own terms? I had that dream – big time. I had been laid off for the third time from my job, we were broke and I definitely wanted a change. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my online business, I just needed someone to help me build it.

I thought I did my homework.  I put my heart and soul into writing an air tight business plan and once I had all the details in place, I hired a highly recommended overseas web development company to build me that dream.

Can you imagine the excitement and anticipation I was feeling! I could hardly sleep those first few months.

… But then there was the waiting.

And the delays.

And the missed deadlines or requirements.

And the pulling out of hair in utter frustration.

Don’t get me wrong, the project was complicated but going well enough for me to continue to pay them. Unfortunately, it never was exactly what I wanted. They would rework it and try to fix it, but it just led to more and more delays. They clearly did not understand the requirements, I was in way over my heard and the project started to feel like a money pit.

Then disaster struck. They “lost” all the files in a server crash and had to start over. To say I was devastated was an understatement. While I found it difficult to believe they had no backups, I helplessly allowed them to start over.

It didn’t go well the second time.

Eventually the project just collapsed. After they were running 18 months past the launch date and no longer showing a solid commitment to the project, I made the gut wrenching decision to just walk away. I just couldn’t afford to stick any more money into it and trying to get money back from an overseas provider wasn’t a mountain I knew how to climb. I understood how naive I had been, and I was emotionally spent.

The emotional toll was bad enough. What I didn’t mention was that in order to pay this web development company, I had put a second mortgage on our home. A big one for us, and now I had nothing to show for it – except a hefty monthly payment.

Imagine the shame I felt each month when I had to write a loan check for three more years to pay off this failed business venture. Imagine trying to look my husband in the eye when we were barely making ends meet. I was still out of a job and this extra mortgage was the reason we couldn’t move to be closer to job opportunities.

These were certainly not my happiest days. I felt like my dream had died and my family was paying a big price for it.

I felt like a total failure.

But was my dream truly dead?

Thankfully, during my many months of frustrating work with the web development company, I did not just sit idle. In trying to learn why the project was failing, I took coding classes. I read tutorials on databases and I took on practice projects on my own. After my project failed epically, I realized I had learned enough to land a few contracting jobs as a web developer!

I also started networking and interviewing – a lot. I needed a foot in the door. While I had a college degree, it certainly was not in IT or web development, so having zero experience in this field was a bit of a hurdle. I just didn’t let that stop me. I swallowed my pride and kept at it.

During one memorable interview I recall saying “I don’t know” so many times that once I left the building I promptly broke into tears of embarrassment.

But something very, very interesting happened.

They offered me that job the very next day.

I still remember taking the call. For privacy, I was standing in the rain outside an office building when the offer came in. I literally felt like I was being blessed at that moment. Suddenly I had a full time position that paid me more than any job I held previously. Suddenly our fears of losing our home vanished. Suddenly I could breath.

Why was I offered this amazing opportunity?

They told me I was given the job because I was honest enough to tell them what I didn’t know, I was eager enough to tell them I would learn whatever it took to be successful and they had seen the hard work I had put in to get as far as I did.

I was simply amazed how it had all worked out! … Can my failures lead to success?

The funny part is, that isn’t even my happy ending.

Shortly thereafter, My self-confidence grew. I met an amazing mentor who encouraged me to get my MBA due to my strong desire to be a leader and entrepreneur. “Knowledge is power,” he always said. Never. Stop. Learning.

So I did that too. I went on and earned my Master’s Degree and within a short time, I obtained a high level IT leadership position. I have also had the great opportunity to run my own successful online retail business since 2012. (Who needs sleep, right?)

While it didn’t happen in the timeline I expected, my dream did not die with my failure. It came true because of it. I am living my happy ending because of the risks I took and the lessons I learned. I guess being a total professional failure has its benefits!

Want to hear another confession?

I am nothing special. I am not a “one in a million” success story. You are just as entitled to have your happy ending as well and can achieve it by following these simple steps:

How Failures Lead to Success:

  1. Push Your Boundaries. Follow that dream, even if it is scary! Do your homework to try and reduce as much risk as possible, but you will never grow if you don’t try new things.
  2. Embrace Your Failures. If it doesn’t turn out as planned, take an honest look at what you can learn from it. Don’t let it defeat you – use failure to your advantage.
  3. Put Yourself Out There. Build a network and share your skills. Never give in to rejection.
  4. Work Your Butt Off. Work harder than anyone you know. Learn from every interaction and remember: never stop learning.

Are you ready to let your failures lead to success?

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Tracy Weber

For me, it's about embracing our individuality and finding what makes us each truly unique. Focus strengths, and worry less about weaknesses.
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