Entrepreneurs differ from wannabe entrepreneurs in one significant way: they take action. Inertia is the first cousin of fear. Doing nothing accomplishes just that. I think part of this is because people interested in changing course think they have to make huge, drastic leaps and that is terrifying to most of us. But looking around at your business, your career, your relationships or life in general and correcting course in one small way is doable-and can lead to change, sometimes even big change.

Failure is inevitable, but in many ways, so is success. Life is cyclical. The question is

are you noticing small successes when you make a change?

Ask yourself “How would I know that I was on the right course? What small moments might indicate that I am on the right path?” If it is career and you volunteered for one project, you might think you were on the right path if you got noticed or mentioned for your contribution. But would you notice the new contacts you made that might pay off five years in the future? If it is business and you want to increase your marketing reach and you tasked an employee with taking out one small online ad, but attracted no new customers, would you appreciate the fact that your employee gained new knowledge?

Successful people take risks and fail-and fail again and again. But they ACT. They do. All major companies can point to a significant failure. Major inventors and innovators have ridiculous stories of projects that were doomed, but that later morphed into something they never expected that was wildly profitable. Had they not failed the first time, they would have never made it to point b or c.

Look at your relationship with your most difficult supplier. What small change could you make (not him) that could improve that relationship? Do you dream of having more time off? What small risk could you take to move closer to that (investigate hiring a part-time virtual assistant, scale back the size of your home/yard, talk to your boss)? Doing nothing won’t get you there. Trying and failing and then trying again are far more likely to get you where you want to be.

I’d love to hear examples of your own trying and failing. What unexpected event occurred because of your own small risk?


by Steven Schlagel