Tommy Patterson is co-founder and CEO of WKND Digital.
Over the years I have been asked how I achieved certain goals and got to where I am today. I have noticed a certain pattern in my answers: I persevere through my failures. While it’s largely through retrospection, I’ve been able to share my experience in a way that I hope will not only inspire others, but also let them know that there is no right path to success. By being consistently guided by this mantra, there are several benefits that come with this mindset. Here are a few of my tips on how other entrepreneurs can embrace a similar mindset.
1. Say yes.
It’s something you often hear people passionately ask in movies, books, articles and so on: “What if?”
There have been countless times in my life when I could have chosen the “logical” or “foreseeable” option, but I went against the grain. While it would have been easy to play it safe, what helped me overcome the fear of the unknown was the idea that there is no right or wrong path. To make the right decision, I would think about my past and where I would like to be in the future. One book that helped me with this was Vivid Vision by Cameron Herold. By sitting down and really thinking about how you would like your personal and professional endeavors to unfold, you may find that you are getting opportunities that can exponentially help you get where you want to be in a shorter amount of time.
I believe it’s important to think about moving forward and sometimes go with your gut rather than what makes the most sense. When opportunities arise, try to think about the positive or best possible outcomes – not just what could going wrong. You never know if you don’t try.
2. Reflect on mistakes.
You are human. You’re going to make mistakes. There was a time when I really believed and put my heart and soul into a business that ended up costing me millions of dollars. It took time, but by reflecting on my mistakes, I was able to see that I learned from that experience and the people I met along the way. I wouldn’t change what I did if I had the chance.
It’s important not to take failures personally. While it may be difficult right now, know that it is part of the human experience. Choose not to wallow in hard times. Instead, take that pain and turn it into a new roadmap. That is the key to success.
I believe that entrepreneurship is not about where you come from; it’s about what you do with your situations. For example, I grew up on a low income, didn’t finish high school, and had weird jobs for years before finally getting my GED in my thirties, starting my own business and starting my family. It all happened with faith – belief in myself, what I could achieve and the tools I could use to achieve my goals.
I’ve found that once your mindset goes to “I can do this,” instead of “This seems impossible, too difficult, etc.”, you actually start to see growth in your abilities. I would like to think that through my trials I am proof that you can achieve anything despite all the odds.
While success takes time and effort, the hardest part can be just doing it. Constantly failing forward and growing from those failures is how to achieve greatness, both personally and professionally. Being afraid is a good thing; it means you get a chance to embrace something new.