The Path to Success is Paved With Mistakes

When you are first starting to build a business it is easy for you to compare your mistakes to other people’s success and think that you are a failure.

Instead of looking at your progress, you look at your shortcomings and compare those shortcomings with someone who is much further down the path. This type of comparison is a recipe for disaster because no matter what, you can’t win.

Think of it this way – You would never tell a young child to compare their journey with a top-performing athlete in a professional league would you?

No, because that would diminish their self esteem and leave them feeling like they are not good enough every time.

The path to success is messy. It is paved with failure, mistakes, and should haves, would haves, and could haves.

When I did my very first webinar, I finished 30 minutes early because I was so nervous that I spoke way faster than normal. I felt like a loser.

The first time I tried to sell a group program to a group of people, one person bought and I had to go back and tell her that something had come up and I was not moving forward with the program. I never billed her credit card because instead of celebrating the win of one yes, I got stuck in the misery of only one yes.

I convinced myself that my online copywriting was the problem and I hired someone else to write copy for my sales page for an online video program I was going to sell. I picked a bad launch day – I was away in NYC with friends and unable to be available.

Emails flooded in. The copy sucked, it did not sound like me. The video they installed on the sales page was not optimized for mobile and everyone was trying to watch on their mobile phone.

I had invested a significant amount of money for this copy. We didn’t sell a thing. Yet again I felt like a failure.

One time this woman wanted to hire me to help her company with social media. I got a really bad feeling at the start, but I did it anyway. Month after month her invoices went unpaid. I would follow up and she would reassure me that the money was coming, not to worry and not to quit, because she really needed me. I kept going, even though my instincts were screaming at me to get out.

I lost several thousand dollars and learned a big lesson around payment, and listening to my gut. I also learned that exposing business owners who do this type of thing makes you look like the bad guy and so, I suffered in silence out of fear that it would reflect badly on me.

Each time something like this happened; I felt a strong desire to quit. I felt like I wasn’t mean to do this…

BUT – Something stronger pushed me to keep going. Sometimes it was sharing my struggle with someone else and finding out that I was not alone that made the difference.

Other times, it was the support of my team who helped me to find solutions so we could recover from our mistakes. And always, when I needed encouragement, someone who reads my blog or works with me would send me a thank you card or an email to tell me that I had made a difference for them.

I share this with you for one reason only, because quite frankly telling you about my failures is risky and uncomfortable. I share this with you because I don’t want you to give up. I want you to know the path is messy and riddled with mistakes and that you are strong enough to keep going.

The answer is inside of you and, if you just listen to your inner voice, it will tell you exactly what to do Share on X

Hindsight is 20/20 and almost every time, when I look back at my mistakes, if I had listened to my intuition earlier on, those mistakes would have been avoided.

Here are three takeaways for you:

  1. Stop comparing yourself to those further along the path in their business than you.
  2. Listen to your intuition more closely.
  3. Find a coach, mentor or peer who can lift you up when you need some reassurance.

And, if you need help creating your own path to success, The Pilot Project is available to get you started.

Have you experienced this? Share in the comments your last mistake and what you learned that made your business more successful in the long run.



10 thoughts on “The Path to Success is Paved With Mistakes”

  1. good morning Lisa

    another fabulous raw piece. this one truly resonated with me on so many levels for I have wanted to quit at least a thousand times ok..maybe not that much but pretty close to it! though something deep within me won’t let me quit. I am choosing to trust this deepr still voice within.

    Lisa, thank you for sharing. thank you for being so open with us. thank you for letting us know that we are not alone. thank you for inspiring me to continue to shug right along in my own unique way.

    I really love the changes that are transpiring!


  2. WoW! Such a great message ‘listen to your intuition’! We hear it all the time but it can so easily be swapped out for fear driven ideals. Listen to the intuition is core to everything about doing business/living well.
    Thank you for the reminder Lisa.

  3. Thanks for sharing Lisa.
    It’s inspiring to know that even after mistakes, you kept going until you found success. I’ve had my share of mistakes too, but you learn and move forward. There will always be bumps and detours in our journey – it’s how we handle those course changes that determines the destination.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this! What you write is so true. Sometimes we get lost in our failures (or what we perceive as failures) and lose focus on how far we have come. Sometimes we need some failures to remind us of how far we have come. The failures are always the lessons that make us better.

    You have helped me so much in my business over the past few years. In sharing this piece, not only do you point out certain realities of being a business owner, but you make your business so relate-able to others who may not have gotten to where you are yet. Thank you so much for what you do and being so inspiring to me! I love what you do and look forward to seeing you soar even further!

  5. Thanks for writing this Lisa, I needed this badly today. I have had a few great WINS this week and last, but also 1 non-amazing experience as well which took the oomph out of me. I too should have listened to my intuition there – you live and learn!

  6. Camesha | Mama Motivator

    Awesome post. I am grateful for the lessons you’ve shared here as I know I’ll need to remember them when I’m feeling like I haven’t hit it out of the park. I have a phrase I use to get me through times of self doubt. Give yourself grace. :)

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Lisa Larter Bio Image of Lisa x400

Lisa Larter

Founder and CEO of the Lisa Larter Group, master strategist, author, speaker, podcast host, social media expert, consultant, and business coach. Lisa inspires entrepreneurs and business owners to see the possibilities for their organizations when it comes to strategy. She uncomplicates modern marketing and creates (and implements) strategies for businesses that are guaranteed to increase visibility, inbound leads, and revenue.

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