Succeeding on the first try every time sounds great, but the truth is that every good entrepreneur is going to have moments of great success followed by times of failure and discouragement. At times, it might feel like failure and discouragement come far more often than moments of success. If you are finding that failure and lack of progress have become a major part of your life, it is important to know that you are not alone.
Some of the most successful people in the world failed at first. For example, Walt Disney was fired from his job with a newspaper because he was said to lack creativity. Steven Spielberg was rejected three times by USC’s film school. The first Harry Potter book was rejected multiple times. Yet in 2004, J. K. Rowling became the first billionaire author. The key to these people’s success as well as the success of many other people is not that they found success right away, but that they continued to persist, not allowing their failures to stop them from achieving success. It is key to remember perseverance breeds success.

Redefine Failure

When working toward achieving your goals, one of the top things you should do is refine failure. According to Sara Blakely, founder, owner, and CEO of Spanx growing up, her father would ask them what they had failed at that week. He would celebrate their failures with them. After a while, Blakely realized that failure was not about the end result as much as it was about not trying. Even as you face obstacles in your way, it is important to not give up or avoid doing something for fear of failure. Realize that real failure is quitting or not trying something. It is not about the obstacles that might be in your way along your path to success.

Continue to Pursue Possibilities

An Entrepreneur article from earlier this year talked about how Sivan Sternbach’s art is hanging in the windows of Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. That wouldn’t have happened, though, if Sternbach had not been persistent in working to achieve her dream. When she first emailed Bergdorf‘s senior director for visual presentation, she got a response within 48 hours. Yet, the director felt working with Sternbach would be too hard since she was based in Israel and not in the United States.
Sternbach continued to email the senior director, even as she did not get a response. Finally, Sternbach realized she needed to send the director a sample of her work. She felt if he could see and touch her work, he would realize that his company needed it. Sternbach‘s persistence paid off. The important thing is to not get discouraged. If you know a specific path is right for you, don’t let other people convince you otherwise. Continue to pursue the path until you have proved to others that you were right.

Stay Focused

One of the biggest keys to persistence is staying focused. In life, it is easy to get distracted by other things. Sometimes, that means getting distracted by other people’s negativity. It might mean getting distracted by less important tasks. You may even find yourself getting distracted by fear. If you want to follow through and achieve your dream, it is important to not allow yourself to be pulled away by distraction that will take your focus away from your dreams.
As you get distracted or discouraged, realize that if you quit before you achieve your dream, you are likely providing a path for someone else to achieve the dream you were too scared or unmotivated to achieve. When you get discouraged, ask yourself if you can live with the “what ifs” associated with quitting. Then continue in pursuing your goal.
As you work to achieve your dreams, one of the most important things to realize is that there is no such thing as perfection. No matter how good you are at something, you will not succeed every time. For example, Usain Bolt had a 45-race winning streak at the Olympics and World Championships finals prior to the World Championships last August, where he came in third. No one is going to succeed at everything they attempt to do, but persistence is the key to finding those moments of success.