Tuesday, June 10th, 2008...1:11 am

Failure Is Not Just A River In Egypt

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We’ve recently hit a few bumps in the road at Sportsvite and for the first time I can see a path to failure as easily I can see success. Then last week I was in the audience at the NY Tech Meetup. The most successful startups in NYC were presenting their companies and it was inspiring. I love famous entrepreneurs. At one point in their life, before they were established, it was just them and their whacky ideas. It’s easy to dislike the current day Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But think of those guys as they were dropping out of college or passing up solid paying jobs to chase their passion when they had little support, no money and lots of second guessers. I dig it. Anyway, at one point in the Meetup they asked the people in the audience who worked at a startup to raise their hands. My guess is that over 200 hands were raised. Odds are very few, if any, will be as successful as the startups that presented that night. Hmm. I’m still genuinely optimistic and confident in the future of Sportsvite, but the realization that success is no guarantee has given me something to think about.

Here is what I think.

Sometimes, I’m a bit too afraid of failure…in my career, in my relationships and in my ambitions for life. I’m not quite sure why that is. I’m not the type that cares all that much about what people think or say about me. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to get myself out of any pickled that I get into. I’ve even tried some things since college that took me off the linear path but I’m still right where I want to be. While I have high expectations for myself I don’t necessarily feel any pressure to do or be anything. So why shudder at the thought of failure?

Maybe I want to be the strong-willed rock who “won’t allow failure to happen”. That sounds more like a dumb Brent Musberger comment than reality though. The truth is that I, just like everybody else, will experience failure in life. So why fight it? Why be afraid? It seems like not giving a rat’s talon gives you a much better chance to do something great. Robert Kennedy said that “only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly”. If you don’t like that quote try this one from Winston Churchill.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.

So from now on that’s how I roll. Not the guy who won’t let failure happen but the guy who can give it a go and if he fails shrugs it off as easily as the Big Lebowski when his identity is mistaken and his rug gets micturated upon. To me that person seems more likely to succeed. And even if he fails the first time, there’s a good chance he’ll succeed the next time…or the time after that.

I dug up this Michael Jordan television ad. I’m not a big Jordan guy but I certainly admire his success and determination. In this Nike commercial he talks about failure. I never really thought much about it until the last few days when I remembered the commercial and dug it up on YouTube. It’s interesting to think how often Michael Jordan, perhaps the most successful athlete ever, failed. Remember, this is a guy who in his prime batted .202 in double A ball!

If Jordan can’t do it, so can’t I!