The Lazy Myth of Startup Failure

Experienced Entrepreneurs Are Prepared To Fail. Here’s Why.

Joe Procopio

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image by jcomp

Most startups don’t fail with a bang, they fail with the quiet optimism of a single desperate decision.

In hindsight, you can always walk your way back to the moment when everything started to go wrong. But as it’s happening, it’s a lot harder to truly feel the weight of every decision on a daily basis. Only with experience do you start to get a sense of when the choice you’re about to make could eventually wreck the company.

But here’s where the failure myth unravels. In a lot of cases, even those experienced founders will choose the failure option anyway. Because one of the great Catch-22s of startup is that in order to succeed, you need to embrace the options that could doom you.

I’ve been thinking about failure a lot lately. In the current economic climate, most of my inbound from working entrepreneurs is about avoiding failure rather than chasing success.

It shouldn’t be that way. Most entrepreneurs do what they do because they love what they do. And If you truly love what you do, failure isn’t failure until you give up. So in order to debunk the myth of failure, you first have to understand why you love what you do.

Learning About Love From The Mandalorian?

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit in on a Q&A with Giancarlo Esposito at a convention. My kids love The Mandalorian as much as I do (he’s a villain), so it was a session we could all agree on.

Esposito was asked the standard fandom stuff, including what he owes to his longevity as a successful actor. And just as I was starting to tune out his answer (I was waiting for Season 3 hints like everyone else), he started talking about love.

What? Look, I can recognize when a speaker is about to give a canned answer. But I’ll tell you this. Any time someone starts talking about love, I start paying attention. While it may not be a driver that you’d suspect from me, I personally believe love is the answer to like 90% of the world’s problems (and thus 90% of my own).

Now, I’m paraphrasing what he said, because I was only half-listening when he started, but he…

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Joe Procopio

I'm a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. NLG pioneer. Building TeachingStartup.com & GROWERS. Write at Inc.com and BuiltIn.com. More at joeprocopio.com