When you think of successful business leaders, you probably think about all the positive things that have happened for them. There are certainly those who have enjoyed stellar successes, one after another. But the flip side to that situation is that the road to success is often paved with failure. There are many entrepreneur who have experienced several failures before they found lasting success.
Ask any successful business leader and they will be quick to tell you of the struggles they endured and the days when everything seemed to be going wrong.
“There were huge obstacles for me,” says entrepreneur Brian Paes-Braga, who is perhaps most famously known for founding lithium resource company Lithium X while still in his 20s, then selling it in March 2018 for $265 billion. Since then, in addition to serving as a principal at SAF Group, he’s also accepted board seats at several companies including Thunderbird Entertainment and DeepGreen Metals, Inc.
But he admits that he’s experienced his share of failures as well.
One that he mentions was his early involvement in an oil and gas company that took on mezzanine financing. “Too much shale production came on, and there were other factors that drove the price down, and the project eventually went bankrupt. After experiencing that, I learned how to be careful in how to finance a project.” Ultimately, he says, his failures allowed him to launch Lithium X and run it successfully. “I was very fortunate,” he says.
For new entrepreneurs, it can be easy to fail if you haven’t yet learned the art of delegation. It’s not always easy to do, especially in the early days when you’re building a new business. It’s natural to want to keep a hand in all facets of the business, but you can’t expect to be all things to all people.
Leo Laporte, founder of the Twit network, which produces and hosts a number of popular podcasts, adds:“My biggest mistake was trying to do it all myself,” he says. “As a founder I felt like I knew everything I needed to know about media, content, even the technology involved to reach my audience. And I did. I just didn’t know anything at all about making a viable business: finance, marketing, advertising, and human resources. After a few years of rapid growth my company had stalled out, and I was spending more time fighting fires than I was doing the stuff I loved and that made us money.” He soon found a solution. “Hiring a business partner then giving her full scope to do her job felt a little like giving up my company but it was a vital step toward success.”
Sometimes the failures are related to company finances, specifically when you don’t have enough cash flow on hand to keep the business running. Andres Pira, founder and CEO of Blue Horizon Investments, notes that, “Failure hardens your spirit and teaches you lessons. Success comes when you soften and apply the lessons. I set new goals and started to visualize and meditate again.”
Pira adds: “Crises enter our lives because we lose focus and inner confidence. Instead of looking inward, we often look for external verification that everything will be all right. This creates additional stress and anxiety that only causes us to lose touch with what we want and confidence in our ability to obtain it.”