Failing Your Way to Success

For many reasons, I didn’t want to start Dream Big Community Center. One of the biggest reasons was that I didn’t want to fail. When I thought of failure, the idea of embarrassment and disgust filled my mind. And of course, I would presume that a non-celebrity, non-professional and inexperienced person like myself wasn’t worthy of having something of that magnitude. That word, fail (or failure), has a very bad reputation- but it shouldn’t.

Failing isn’t bad, which is why I love the saying “Fail Your Way to Success.” I wasn’t able to find the original quote or author, so excuse the lack of credit- but I believe it’s powerful and whoever said it was genius. It took some time for me to process this saying because it goes against what the media portrays as a success. I had to read books, watch documentaries, and dig for motivational outlets that gave life to understand this concept.

To fail your way to success brings the perspective that it’s going to go horribly wrong before it becomes incredibly successful. To succeed requires commitment, dedication, vision, ambition, and hard work. Having the “Fail Your Way to Success” perspective prepares anyone to not expect success right away.

As a Social Entrepreneur, I’m not exempt. We started a campaign almost a year ago, and we’re nowhere close to fulfilling our goals. Our campaign is Every Child is At Risk because we know that every child is at risk of not pursuing their dream. So far, we’ve raised almost 3% of our $100k goal; our online programs have had 2% of 5,000 student attendance, and it has not been easy getting others to join us in this effort. I could be discouraged, but I understand creating quality products take time. This is not an overnight process. I still have a lot of late nights, collaborating, brainstorming, and restructuring that I need to complete.

Here’s a perfect example and see our success:

In my video above, you see that we were rejected several times. I almost felt invisible. We went to Downtown Vancouver (WA), Downtown Seattle (WA), and Downtown Portland (OR). As you’ll see, it wasn’t very encouraging- but we had to start somewhere. I didn’t (and still don’t) expect it to be easy or given to me. Therefore, I know failure is the first step to success.

Now that you know (or already know) that you have to fail your way to success, don’t be discouraged. Accept it as your reality. The opportunity to get better will present itself if you’re committed to your goal. Ensure your clear on what that accomplishment you’re aiming for looks like so that it won’t be a moving target. Moving targets create excuses. Excuses create the justification for lack of effort. The lack of effort creates a distraction, making you focus on something else, which means it won’t become a success.

Once you accept this truth, the process will become easier (not easy). Know that you have to fail before you succeed. Again, no one is exempt. We all have to start somewhere. And when you start, keep in mind to remember you have to “Fail Your Way to Success” in order to be successful. Failing your way to success will give you results. As you keep failing, the results you seek will get closer and closer.  

I write this because my business is personal. My struggles are for your gain. No strings attached.

Nathan A. Webster, MBA