How to Succeed in Business by Failing

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How to Succeed in Business by Failing

Anybody who has ever tried to do something amazing has most likely failed. Abraham Lincoln failed multiple times in running for political office. Donald Trump has failed multiple times in business. As has Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Richard Branson and many other extremely successful people. What do they all have in common? They never let those failures define them.

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As we go through life, we often decide not to try something due to fear of failure, whether it is approaching someone we find attractive, starting a new career, or moving somewhere new. We allow fear of rejection, fear of a new environment or new information to cause us to remain where we are.

It is this comfort with our current situation that prevents us from ever progressing and growing into our best selves. I am here to tell you that you NEED to fail.


People often think we are in the middle of failure and success and can just choose which one we want to experience. That is not the case. EVER. The better visual is that we are standing at one end of an obstacle course, and on the other end, is success. Every obstacle we must traverse is a failure. With each failure, we will be one step closer to the ultimate success we desire.

You may begin this obstacle course and not be able to pass the first obstacle on your first try. You have now failed. If you try to pass the obstacle the same way again, you will most likely fail. You must learn from the first failure, and find a different way to traverse this first obstacle. Imagine you get over the obstacle the second time. This means that your first failure, was actually a success, you have succeeded in overcoming your first obstacle and are one step closer to your ultimate success.


What if you were afraid of failure? you would have never even tried to traverse the first obstacle and would have been standing at the starting line, or not even at the course with all your friends. This is only the first step of failure though.

Now we move into failing on a larger scale. I think about when I got my first car when I think of this. The car looked very fast. Too fast. Everybody at my school thought it was turbocharged, with nitrous and thousands of dollars worth of engine work done. Everybody wanted to race me. I never wanted to race. I just wanted the attention.


One day I was driving down the highway, and a Lamborghini Murcialago pulled up next to me. He wanted to race. I knew I was going to lose. I would have lost to a Honda Civic with $1000 worth of engine work done. I thought it my head “If I am going to lose, it is going to be to a Lamborghini, not a Honda Civic driven by a guy in my history class”. So I accepted the race, we started, well, he started going fast, and I didn’t stand a chance.

The moral of the story? Don’t fail with the little fish. If you are going to be rejected by a girl, be rejected by the most beautiful girl you could ever imagine. If you are going to approach a possible client for your new business, approach the largest possible client you can think of. They may say no, but what if they say YES!!!!? This one single “Yes” could possibly change your life forever. It will make every single “No” you have ever heard disappear.


Now comes the next step. Now that you are willing to be told no, and are willing to be told no by the big guys, and willing to fail on a large scale, get others who are willing to fail with you. Now, you will have a team out there getting told “No” so they can occasionally hear a “Yes” This is important when you change your goal to a “No” oriented goal instead of a “Yes” oriented goal. How does that work?

A “Yes” oriented goal allows for downtime during the most inappropriate times. If your goal as a Real Estate agent is to sell 5 homes in a week, and you sell 4 on a Monday, then Tuesday sounds like a great day to play 18 holes of golf to celebrate your success on Monday. Wednesday we can take a short day at the office and take the kids out after school for some fun. Thursday you get back to selling houses. But if you fail to sell on Thursday, you are back on your 1 house a day goal. You took yourself out of game when you were playing the best.


If you are like me and watch sports, have you ever seen a basketball player score 20 points in the first quarter of a game? It’s amazing. The energy in the building is something you can’t replicate. Do they take that player out? No, you let him score another 18 in the next quarter, and another 22 in the third. Then, in the fourth quarter, when you are up by 25 points, you can give your star player some rest.

This is why I propose a “No” oriented goal. This way, if your goal is to get 25 “No’s” in a week, and you get 4 “Yes’s” on Monday out of 4 customer responses, you are way behind on your goal. Now on Tuesday you have to work extra hard to reach your 25 “No’s” by the end of the week. Since you are in the pattern of getting “Yes’s”, if you increase your customer contacts to get your “No’s” you are bound to beat your original “Yes” Oriented goal by a long shot.


By changing your goals from “Yes” to “No” oriented you are also accepting the you are naturally going to be rejected. Not only are you accepting it, but you are relishing in it due to the fact that those rejections are moving you closer to your goal.

This philosophy is something I have acquired through years of sales experience and after reading a book called “Go for No : Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There” by Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz. It is a must read if you are in sales and want to exponentially increase your success rate. It is a game of numbers. This book will really help you to accept rejection and enjoy it. I hope you all learn to fail, and in turn, enjoy your ultimate success.

Go For No
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About the author: Mike

After graduating college and experiencing the world for what it truly is, I was shocked to realize my major was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So I am very educated in Anatomy and Physiology, and do find the human body to be very astonishing. I believe that I learned much sooner than a lot of people my age, that we are all in the profession of selling. When I embraced that, my sales skills increased and I have enjoyed the rush of sales, freedom of the profession, partial control over my income and time as opposed to complete salary or hourly pay. I take every assignment, whether given by someone else, or derived from my own ambition, very seriously and do not stop until the ultimate goal is reached by all who share it. I enjoy team atmospheres, and am very good at taking the lead.

4 comments to “How to Succeed in Business by Failing”

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  1. Tony Tate - February 8, 2016 at 4:54 am Reply

    So much content of such great quality, This post was a long read but with every paragraph I read I fount myself pulled into the next paragraph,

    This content was great.

  2. damir matisic - February 8, 2016 at 7:00 am Reply

    Cool post. Everything you said is completely true. There are much more failures in life then successes, so it’s up to us not to let those failures get to us. What doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.


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