Hidden Lessons

By: Rebecca Cho

Michael Jordan is considered one of the greatest basketball player of all time.  His jersey number 23 is recognized internationally and his legendary skill led him to help his team win six NBA Championships.  There does not seem to be much evidence of failure in his career.  That’s why even more it’s interesting to note that one of Michael Jordan’s most famous quotes is about failure:  “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”  

Similar to Michael Jordan’s superstar career, starting/growing your business can have the potential to become legendary.  At the same time however, there will be many bumps and roadblocks along the way that have the potential to make or break a business.  It is all about how you define and handle the failures that come your way. 

Sometimes it’s helpful to rename the word “failure” as something less negatively charged.  Other times, it’s necessary to open up yourself to failures, in order to accept/learn from them as they come along.  Owning up to mistakes and using it as a reflective tool for gaining experience is a huge asset.   Even Paul Allen –did not succeed at first.  Before starting Microsoft with Bill Gates, his first business Traf-O-Data (a machine that could chart vehicle traffic) failed to generate any revenue or customers. 

I have made my share of business mistakes, but Traf-O-Data remains my favorite mistake because it confirmed to me that every failure contains the seeds of your next success.”   - Paul Allen
No sane person goes looking for failure.  Similarly, although unsuccessful outcomes can help you become a stronger entrepreneur, careful planning is also necessary to help you avoid preventable problems.   Please refer back to Start Smart’s other posts on business planning tips: 


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