If Gutenberg had given up on his idea, people today would not be able to read books and other written publications that were made accessible due to his printing press. Rooms would be illuminated by candles if Thomas Edison had believed that his idea of the electric bulb could not be realized.
What does business success have to do with personal growth and development? What is personal growth exactly? Today, people assume it to be something we do in order to become successful. If you recognize this as your line of thinking, ask yourself this: Can I become a leader, politician, entrepreneur, or artist as a means to personal growth or development, and not the other way around? Personal development is a lifelong process that ceases only when we cease to exist, and not just something we do in our spare time. We were born to become the best human beings we can possibly be.
Therefore, growing means learning, and we know that the best way to learn is by risking, failing, getting up—and understanding the way everything works along the way. Running a successful business means more than having good short- and long-term plans and a flashy online marketing platform. Here are lessons that a few successful entrepreneurs have shared with the rest of the world.
Nothing Is as Bad as It Seems
Gene Marks (columnist, speaker, and president of the Marks Group) says that the most valuable lesson he has learned is that nothing is as bad as it seems, as well as that nothing is as good as it seems either. It means that both failure and success are relative, and this is something that his father had taught him. When it comes to failure, do not eat your heart out, but roll with the emotions, reorganize, and get down to work. There are billions of people around the world who could not care less about you failing, and it is not as important as you perhaps think it is.
Learn to Listen to Your Instinct
Caroline Ghosn (cofounder and CEO of Levo League) advises you to trust your instinct. She says that she feels like reverting more and more to her first instincts as they apply to people, even if she cannot justify them. The latitude of success and of failure is directly correlated to people. If you cannot realize what your instinct is telling you, find what is keeping you from hearing it and deal with it.
Extra Tip: Check out what The Guardian has to say about instinct versus insight.
Pay Attention to Your Customers First
Jon Beekman (entrepreneur, founder, and CEO of Man Crates) says that his previous company’s failure taught him an important lesson—always be focused on your customers. His team’s mistake was falling in love with their concept of what the customer wanted, rather than communicating with customers to get valuable feedback. When they finally listened to their customer feedback, the company was already too far down the road to change the main idea and business concept, so it failed.
Extra Tip: View this Forbes article on why negative feedback can be the most valuable feedback of all.
It Is Not Only about the Money
Marc Zuckerberg (chairman, chief executive, and cofounder of Facebook) actually declined an offer from Terry Semel (then CEO of Yahoo) to sell Facebook for a billion dollars. Today, Facebook is a multibillion-dollar company. Zuckerberg says that it is about loving what you do, not just about money. Loving what you do and being ready to do some hard work is a prerequisite for success and growth. He had spent days and nights on coding to present us Facebook—the current largest social networking platform today. Zuckerberg says he does not feel good about how he is spending his time unless he feels like he is working on the most important problem that he can help with.
Creating a Values-Based Business
The owner of a leadership consultancy organization, Rich Litvin says that his team does not have a list of responsibilities and roles or job descriptions. Instead, he has created a values-based business—a business based on those values he finds are the most important. He trains his team in those values, and they make decisions based on them. This leads to creating a great team that loves to work together.
Be Quick to Move
Bill Gates is one of the richest people in the world. The story of a Harvard dropout who became one of the most influential people in the world of business and technology is very inspirational, and he says that he was quick to move to his dreams. He did not bury himself in books and studying, but started his own software house. He saw how his competitors were one-product wonders and understood that they did not have their engineering sorted out. He did not wait. He grabbed the opportunity right away.
What have you learned from your failures? How did they help you in growing and developing both as a person and a business owner? The main attitude is to stay confident and not be afraid of taking risks. Train your instincts along the way and be sure not to miss big opportunities. You cannot do all that you wish, but on the other hand, rules should not always be followed.