One thing I really like about successful business people is how openly many of them discuss their failures prior to their success – and how their failures ultimately shaped them. Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” In my eLearning module “How to Achieve Your Goals“, I explore the concept and definition of ‘failure’ and make the distinction between a failure and a set-back; there can be a feeling of finality attached to failure. Failure can be defined as giving up all together or running out of time, whereas a set-back is a temporary state that can be overcome (often with a lesson to learn).
Unfortunately most people don’t acknowledge this distinction and view a temporary set-back as an excuse to give up altogether. The understanding and application of this distinction is what many successful entrepreneurs seem to have in common. Did you know that Colonel Sanders only became successful after he lost everything and started his now famous chicken franchise, at an age where most people are thinking about retirement?
Michael Jordan attributes his success to the amount of times he continued to try after ‘failing’. This theory is also demonstrated in the amount of presentations I have watched on Ted where successful people of all industries openly talk about the failures that led to their ultimate success and cite their positive definition of failure as the primary factor that kept them from giving up all together and becoming successful.
Recently in Melbourne, I was fortunate to meet a very inspirational Australian entrepreneur, Lisa Messenger – Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Collective. Lisa spoke openly of the valuable lessons she has learned from her mistakes and in times of adversity. She noted the importance of ‘failing’ and not being afraid to fail – as long as you learn from your mistakes and recover quickly. In other words, don’t dwell and wallow in negativity; pick yourself up, dust yourself off and continue on your chosen path with a clear vision of your and objectives and goal.
Lisa also believes in surrounding yourself with positive, inspirational people and not listening to naysayers – and watch out, because they’re everywhere! Lisa believes that opportunity comes from adversity and the key to being successful in any field is to have a great attitude, be open-minded and have an unwavering self-belief.
Lisa was kind enough to allow me to interview her on the subject of role models and mentors:
Rosey: Lisa, who are your role-models and how have they influenced your life?
Lisa: I have a lot of business, spiritual and personal mentors, but I truly believe you can learn something from everyone. The Collective has given me the opportunity to be inspired by so many people from all walks of life. I believe there are always key takeaways from every story, practically every conversation, conference, speaking gig or debate out there. Allow yourself to listen as inspiration often stems from the unexpected.
When I was overseas at a conference a few years ago, I met this incredible entrepreneur – Josh Silver. You may remember Josh’s story in issue 3…. Over 60 per cent of the world’s population have difficulties with their vision, and only 10 per cent are able to seek help. Josh has set a goal for himself to bring clear vision to one billion people globally by 2020. It’s a big battle to fight but I have full faith Josh will reach this goal. His story, along with many others at the conference, inspired me so much that I came back to Australia refueled with this crazy idea to change the world. That idea eventually became The Collective. Sometimes you may not be able to pinpoint a specific person or moment that has influenced your life (case in point). A number of influences will change your life in different ways so always stay open to these opportunities.
Rosey: What is the value of having a professional mentor?
Lisa: It’s important to have someone who you can turn to for advice and bounce around ideas with. They don’t necessarily need to be in the same industry. Find someone who has their own experiences and expertise to help you with your issues or opportunities. They’re not there to coach you; rather they’re a sounding board – who you can talk openly about your opinions and experiences with.
Rosey: For my readers who may not have direct access to a professional mentor, what direction would you point people in for inspiration?
Lisa: Read avidly, network and connect with like-minded people. Remember that if you have someone in mind, don’t feel embarrassed or afraid to ask. I think a mentor/mentee relationship always needs to be an organic fit.
Rosey: What advice would you give to people going through a tough time at the moment who feel uninspired, or even just stuck in a rut?
Lisa: Find the inspiration you’re looking for – whether this means going somewhere you’ve never been, trying something new or connecting with someone who inspires you. It’s different for everyone so go with what feels right for you. Be curious, question everything and remember that you often need to leave your comfort zone for change. Sometimes you need to look for trends, gaps in the market or what’s been done badly. Read avidly and remember to explore.
Lisa makes a great point that mentors do not necessarily need to be in the same industry as you, and to add to that if you do not have an appropriate mentor in your workplace vicinity, I encourage you find one elsewhere. The excuse, “I don’t work with anyone inspirational enough to be my mentor” is not a valid one and you’re only doing yourself a disservice. You are responsible for being inspired – inspiration is to be sought. Don’t expect inspiration to come knocking on your door or to simply fall in your lap. As Lisa said, read avidly, network, research inspirational people on your smart phone instead of playing that game of Angry Birds, attend work-shops, join groups on LinkedIn and attend seminars and conferences – this is how I met Lisa! Be open-minded and remember, “inspiration often stems from the unexpected”.
In closing, I propose 2 action items for you to undertake in the next few weeks;
1. If you have a potential mentor in mind, take them for a coffee and literally ask them to be your professional mentor. This will formalize the mentorship, even if it will only involve the occasional catch-up or email conversation – so they can “be your sounding-board”. If you do not have an appropriate mentor in mind right now, take some pro-active steps towards finding one. This will get you going on the right track to a positive future mentorship.
2. Take 5 minutes to list 3 of your role models (living or not) and what specifically you admire about them. I believe that true inspirations and role models positively change your behavior (to be like theirs). Make the conscious effort to do something in the next few weeks that your role models would be proud of.
I wish you all the best in your mentorship journey and I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and experiences on this topic. Feel free to comment in the section below, or join the conversation on my facebook page
Connect with Lisa’s magazine Collective Renegade here:
Facebook / instagram / twitter – @collectivehub @lisamessenger
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