Updated: Feb 13, 2020
Let's go back to the very beginning of my career and how failing in business has shaped who I am today...
I couldn’t sell.
Don’t get me wrong, I interviewed fairly well and landed a few sales roles, but my skill-set and attitude at the time would have made it impossible for me to even give away ice water in the desert. Each time I failed I blamed the company I worked for, the back office and criticized the product or service we were selling. Like so many front line people, I thought I knew better than management.
This carried on for a solid year. It was a dark time.
Determined to succeed I read all the sales books I could get my hands on, attended countless seminars and even pushed myself to sign up for Toastmasters. In hindsight everything helped improve my skills but didn’t address the 3 underlying issues that were keeping me from reaching the level of success I felt I could attain:
Reasons I Failed At Business Early In Life…
1. I Wasn’t Coachable
There’s a reason why sports teams and coaches alike will nearly always pick good players that are coachable over great players that won’t take advice. At the age of 18 you couldn’t tell me anything, I knew it all.
2. Blame Shifting
“I missed my budget because (insert excuse here) sucks.” Whenever I missed my budgets or goals I would be quick to make excuses that were “conveniently” out of my control.
I didn’t begin winning the sales game until I took back responsibility for my results and focused on the variables I could control.
Budgets are up 5%? -- Is there something else we can bundle into our package?
Prices are increasing 10% next quarter? -- Who do we know that needs to take action today?
3. My Ego
Like so many others, I thought I had to be “right” as I didn’t want to appear vulnerable in the workplace. I’m sure there were plenty of opportunities for me to learn from great people early on, but I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to acquire this knowledge.
Things changed fast when I finally admitted that I didn’t know something and needed help.
Over a decade later now I’ve come to realize that getting fired multiple times was the exactly what I needed early on to get focused and take responsibility for my own actions. Whatever your day to day looks like, the world gives you feedback and it’s your job to assess it, make adjustments as necessary and move forward.
Life, like business, is a team sport and you don’t need to be perfect to be an asset to the team. Provide value, allow yourself to be coachable, and always open to learning more, even when you have reached a point of mastery in a subject.
KEY POINT: YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED UNTIL YOU TAKE FULL OWNERSHIP OF YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
Marcin has been instrumental in building several businesses including commercial & multi family real estate investment partnerships, a consulting practice and a smart home security business serving customers nationwide. Marcin has secured over $100MM in growth capital for various businesses and has collectively spoken in front of thousands of entrepreneurs, business owners, investors and those just starting to explore living life on their own terms. Outside the office Marcin can be found at the gym lifting heavy things or on the road zipping along on an extended bicycle ride.
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