“It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” - Bill Gates
Have you ever experienced any intense failures in your life? How did you handle it?
Every great leader some how understands how to take lemons and make lemonade. Today, let’s talk about a great leader who experienced failure that helped shape and solidify his legacy.
This leader’s first company was Traf-O-Data, a company seeking to optimize traffic and end road congestion. The company’s product promised to read traffic tapes and process data. When attempting to sell their processing service to the local County, the first demo failed because the device just didn’t work.
Although this was a big failure, this leader did not stop there. He and his partner, Paul Allen, made the most of his experience. Paul Allen states, “Even though Traf-O-Data wasn’t a roaring success, it was seminal in preparing us to make Microsoft’s first product a couple of years later.”
You have probably figured out the leader we are discussing today. His net worth is $72,700,000,000. Today we are looking at three lessons Bill Gates learned to make him and his organization successful.
1. Take calculated risks. You will never know your full potential if you are unwilling to take risks. Yes, you should take calculated risk, but to most people your risk may not make sense. Do your homework, discover what you are risking, and examine the benefits and disadvantages. Every risk has the possibility of turning out to be a failure. However, just as Bill Gates learned from his failure, your failing will teach you invaluable lessons if you find yourself taking calculated risks.
2. Fail forward. No one is perfect. If Bill Gates failed at starting his first company, what are the chances you will get it right the first time? It has nothing to do with you being a good or bad person. But the fact of the matter is, failing is inevitable. We will experience failure at some point in our career. The question is, will we learn from our failure and will we resolve in our hearts to fail forward?
3. Shift gears. Bill Gates did not stop after Traf-O-Data failed as a company. On the contrary, he shifted gears and took another calculated risk giving us one of the greatest computing companies in the world. Whether you are a fan of Microsoft or not, Bill Gates has left an imprint on our world that will never be forgotten. While leading Microsoft, their mission has always been to “Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” We have all been influenced by his leadership’s dynamism.
Regardless of how successful you are, Bill Gates should inspire you wherever you are with your personal or professional life. You should be motivated to keep progressing whether you are an experienced business owner or if you are thinking about starting your first company. I believe failure is only a step towards experiencing success.
What failures have you experienced? What lessons have you learned from your failures? I would love to hear how you turned your failure into a success story. Please leave a comment below, send me a tweet on Twitter, or leave a comment on Facebook.