Successful Entrepreneurs Know How to Hit Every Curveball Life Throws at Them

When it comes to entrepreneurs, only the hardheaded, the determined and the tenacious survive.

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By Jeff Olson • Sep 9, 2018 Originally published Sep 9, 2018

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In baseball, hitting a curveball is one of the most difficult things to properly execute. Like batters who learn to think fast and pick up on the rotation of the curveball as soon as the pitcher releases the ball to avoid swinging too early, entrepreneurs must learn to think fast and pick up on market trends and changes to adjust their business strategy accordingly. It's imperative to keep your eyes on the prize. Whether you have to hit a fastball or a curveball to accomplish this goal is irrelevant -- as long as you win the game.

Related: The 10 Traits That Define Entrepreneurial Success

Life paths

Here is one example from my own life: I was a young, frustrated beach bum living in Daytona Beach, Fla., and I dreamed of being the CEO of my own company. As you can imagine, the journey from beach bum to CEO was filled with unexpected twists and turns. Step by step, I worked toward my goal but I failed miserably when my startup bottomed out. I lost everything and I was devastated. At that moment, all of your vulnerabilities are exposed, which is why so many people, after failing, retreat to their comfort zones. I certainly considered it. Entrepreneurs, however, when they swing and miss, must have faith in their dreams and ability so that without hesitation they can adjust their strategy to stay in the game. "When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you'll be successful," writes author, speaker, educator and pastor Eric Thomas in The Secret to Success.

Immensely successful people, from Soichiro Honda to Bill Gates have had to deal with life's curveballs. Before Vera Wang established herself as one of the premier designers in the fashion industry, she was a young woman who failed to make the 1968 U.S. Olympic figure-skating team. It was only at age 40 that Wang started to design her iconic wedding gowns and achieved tremendous success. "It was brick by brick, client by client, store by store. It's been a trip of passion, but it has not been a quick trip. Nor has it been easy. And that is the truth," Wang said in an interview. In 2018, Wang made Forbes's list of self-made women with a net worth of more than $650 million.

Related: 10 Things Successful People Tell Themselves Every Day

Game on

Unexpected and difficult things happen to us all at some point in our lives. Most of these things are completely out of our control. However, how we react is entirely within our control. Throughout history, we've seen that when failure is used as a tool in reaching success, the results can be legendary.

Home run

Entrepreneurial endeavors boost productivity, which leads to growth. It's a win for the economy and it's a win for you. Entrepreneurs have the ability to change the world! Why then are business owners whose primary incomes are derived from their enterprises only making up 6.02 percent of the U.S. adult population? According to some research, 46 percent of businesses fail due to incompetence, 30 percent due to lack of managerial experience, 11 percent due to lack of experience and the rest of the failed cases were attributed to fraud, natural disasters and neglect.

These numbers are a clear indication that being a successful entrepreneur requires more than hard work, intelligence, creativity and a detailed business plan -- although that's a good start. Preparation is key! Achieving success is not going to happen overnight. Once you know what you want and you've set your goal, commit to simple daily disciplines and productive actions, repeated consistently over time because doing this add up to the difference between failure and success.

Related: The Most Common Habit of Self-Made Millionaires

Have you heard the saying "only the strong survive"? Well, when it comes to entrepreneurs, only the hardheaded, the determined and the tenacious survive. If taking risks, sudden change or criticism cause anxiety for you, consider a different game. The truth is that businesses fail for a variety of reasons. The crucial point to understand is that failing is not necessarily destructive. Failing at one thing is preparation for another. Don't give up!

Choose now.

Greatness is always in the moment of the decision, and so is fate. Where you end up in life isn't dictated by whether you're a good person or a bad person, it's dictated by if and how many times you swing. The choices you make now can set in motion your next 40 years. Don't give up because of perceived failure, instead become stronger, more informed and more determined to reach your end goal. All that's left to do is to hit hard!

Jeff Olson

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer

Founder & CEO of Neora

Jeff Olson is the founder and CEO of Neora and is a leader in the direct sales industry. He's also the author of The Slight Edge, which shares the philosophy he used to achieve success as an entrepreneur and CEO. He aims to help others reach financial freedom and personal excellence.

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