3 Qualities You Need to Win on Your First Try
No entrepreneur tries to fail. Even when one is getting into something new, whether a business, an industry or a product, they all expect to succeed.
History books are filled with names of people who had to keep trying before they saw even a semblance of success. While the lessons of resilience and determination are successfully passed on, these inspiring stories can often be misconstrued to mean one cannot win on their first try. How about we look at it another way?
Let's find people who learned from the failures of their predecessors to win on their first try. Let's see what lessons we can gather from them. Make no mistake, all had to undergo small failures along the way. However, what they were working on as a whole -- whether starting a business venture, getting ahead in their career or running for office -- ended in victory.
There are common qualities that successful people applied in their pursuit of success.
1.) Drive to pursue the risky.
When you're getting into something new, you aren't the only person that's scared for you. Your family and friends are. If you have a team your problems are bigger. And if you have a co-founder and/or board, you may even be prohibited, if others don't see your vision.
If you believe in it enough, no matter how risky the venture, you should be able to take a stand even when the odds aren't in your favor. A classic case of relentlessness in the face of failure is Tiziano Motti: Getting elected into the European Parliament is no easy feat, let alone winning on your first try. Yet Motti was able to not just win on his first try, he did it on an independent ticket.
Adopting what he calls the “Pop Politics” model, he was able to beat his competitors by taking a different approach that placed above everything else, modern marketing and communication strategies. He said, “My campaign was based essentially on planned marketing strategies and communication patterns drawn around my entrepreneurial and showmanship characteristics, with a hint of the American presidential model.” This innovation gave him confidence to take the risk he was taking leaving little room for fear to thrive.
His first-time success has been detailed in a book dedicated to his story, Sono come te, dammi fiducia which in English means, “I'm like you, trust me.” Driven by the vision of change he wanted to see in the community, Motti left no room to fear the risk he was taking.
Similarly, if you're going to pursue something, even if for the first time, you can't leave room for failure. Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, calls himself an irrational optimist and that's probably what you need to be when pursuing a risky idea for the first time: Believe it will work and get to it.
2.) Passion to learn.
When you think of personalities like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford, you see very successful people who took great risks and ended up shaping entire industries. You also see school dropouts. However, as Napoleon Hill argues in Think & Grow Rich, these men were far from uneducated. They took the time to learn their trade because they understood that knowledge is a key ingredient to the success of all new things.
A growing business is heavily reliant on knowledge about its industry, customers and competitors, etc. Winning a political seat or moving up your career ladder requires you to accumulate a certain amount and quality of knowledge first.
Luckily, this is a plentiful resource for many businesses and individuals. It comes in form of libraries, the internet, mentors, customers, employees, industry leaders and personal experience, to name a few sources. The trick is in acquiring/gathering this knowledge and how you share and exploit it to serve your purpose.
It doesn't necessarily have to be about shining new ideas and clever products. It also doesn't require you go back to school and get an MBA. You can learn a lot about your trade from the workplace experience of the average employee, daily processes and product designs, market research and your customers. The difference between a winning entrepreneur and a losing one can be found in how eager they are to improve their knowledge base.
3.) Knowledge of oneself.
Speaking of knowledge, self-awareness is one of the greatest assets of successful people. Self-awareness is about knowing and coming to terms with who you are as a person. Not just who you think you are when you introduce yourself as “an entrepreneur” or “an engineer” or “a software developer.”
When you're self-aware, you understand why you feel the way you do and how your behavior manifests in different situations. When you understand these truths about yourself, you can then embark on improving. The Johari Window can be an important tool to help you understand yourself and your relationships better.
Motti explains that one of the things that kept him going was this knowledge of self. “I knew all I needed to know to be confident in myself,” he said. “You can only afford to take risks if you understand them and know yourself. Self-awareness gives you a license to be optimistic.”