The generation of lifelong entrepreneurs has come to an end, and it is inevitable that you must be ready, over time, to undertake more than one project and have the lucidity to temper the passion necessary to set them up while not becoming too attached to a single perspective. This is true for everyone: whether your business experience has failed or has been crowned with success, at a certain point it is likely that you will need to break away from it and have the cool-headedness to understand either that it is better to close it or, on the other hand, that the business must leave the startup phase in order to grow.
I realize that the psychological state of those who, for various reasons, decide to move away from their successful project to undertake another one is very different from that of someone who has had to close their project because it has failed. With the latter, the knockback can be very hard: it is difficult to shake off the guilt, frustration or belief that you have done something wrong, even if it may not always be the case as the reasons why a business goes wrong can be innumerable.
On the other hand, it is undeniable that in every project there is a certain level of uncertainty, because chance exists and can play out both positively and negatively… and while in the first case fortune can help, though generally does not change the outcome of things, in the second case bad luck can actually undermine you. You may do everything right and fail anyway because of bad luck. I do not think the opposite is true, that you can be lucky enough to do everything badly and still be successful. Luck can give you a prod, but if things do not evolve because you do not know how to progress them, then they simply will not evolve. The influence of the chance factor can be reduced by controlling all the other variables, something generally acquired through experience because you become better at understanding the needs of the market, anticipating changes, managing staff, administering everything related to the effectiveness and timing of a certain business and, especially, at learning from your mistakes.
It is inevitable that those who have invested all their time and energy in a project and are forced to close it, will suffer. Luckily, I have never found myself in this situation, because the startups I have launched and that went wrong had not absorbed 100 per cent of my resources, but in fact were side projects compared to the main ones.
However, I can say that it is also painful to move away from a company that you have founded and that is going well, as happened to me at the end of 2017 when I decided to leave all the operational positions within the TBS Crew and to maintain only the role of adviser. The certainty that my partner and I no longer shared the same vision for our company made my decision easier: rather than leave what I had built in a stalemate, I preferred to take a step back. Nothing is more harmful to a company than stagnation: a company is a living animal that can change and even make mistakes, stumble and rise again, but it certainly cannot stand still.
This conviction has not prevented me from feeling a certain melancholy, as happens every time a phase of life comes to an end, especially when it has been crammed with adventures, rich in satisfaction, full of commitments as well as studded with many sacrifices. It is a very human feeling, but I think that when you find yourself in situations like this, it is important not to fall into the trap of thinking that you were destined to do that one thing and nothing else. This is a discourse that applies not just to me but also to everyone else, and it is not relevant only to the workplace. When something ends, it is not the end of everything; it was not the only opportunity in life, it was just one of many. Those who have the passion and desire can always start again, writing a new chapter in their history and shaping the reality around them.
Passion is the proverbial lever that raises the world. I am sure that no gain or security is as important as being happy with what you are doing. So, if there is something out there that you love, if you know that there is a project that can get you up in the morning with an energy you did not even know you had, chase it with all your strength and determination.
Today’s “How Do You Start From Scratch After A Success Or Failure?” column is adapted from CREATE UNIQUENESS: How To Turn A Passion Into A Business by Riccardo Pozzoli. Pozzoli is a global entrepreneur; he has co-founded eight companies in the past ten years and is Creative Director for Condé Nast Italias Social Academy.
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