Whether launching a business, a new career, a project, or a new relationship, success is in the forefront of most people’s minds. Although each one of us defines success in our own way, I think we can all agree that everyone’s objective is to achieve their goals to the best of their ability.

The thing about success, is that it is rarely achieved without failure and without support. No one ever achieves every, single goal they make and nothing great is ever accomplished by one individual on their own. We all have (and will lose) partners, mentors, friends, family, to offer insight or guidance along the way to greatness. 

I can say I know this to personally be a fact. Even before my business journey started, my path was filled with many wonderful people who played important roles in my support system and their being there helped me overcome childhood traumas, learn from failure and achieve more than I could have once dreamed. Over this time, I have learned many important lessons, some of which I’d like to share with you today. 

1.  Believe in your capabilities

I left my hometown of Buffalo, New York at an early age after having my first son at 17, being a witness to a brutal murder and completing my High School equivalency. I was desperately searching for a new, positive and encouraging environment in which I could escape poverty and violence and learn how to grow. The thing was, I didn’t know exactly how that would happen. The answer for me was found on USMC bases and in the US Navy where I learned the importance of service, discipline and structure. Even with all I had learned, I found myself doubting my capabilities along the way and being ashamed of my failures. I knew I wanted to ‘do better’ and everyone around me seemed to think I could, but I didn’t believe in myself. While I absolutely needed this section of ‘cheerleaders’ at the time, I also learned that no matter the amount of outside motivation, I absolutely could achieve nothing without believing in myself. Once I started to believe, amazing things started to happen. I advanced in rank, completed my undergraduate degree and was accepted into Law School! Not bad for the girl from the East Side of Buffalo who had not finished high school and been a teenage mom. 

2. Embrace your failures

Shit isn’t always perfect. Even the people who look like they have everything handed to them, experience obstacles. Failure should be expected and embraced. Yes, I said embraced. There’s a saying I like that goes like this:

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” 

This statement suggests a couple of things; 

  1. That the author didn’t give up (which I love) and; 
  2. That he didn’t let failure determine his ultimate success. 

(Note: This quote is attributed to Thomas Edison who went on to invest tons of the things we still use to this very day. Imagine if he had given up.)

Failures are (or, at least should be) learning experiences. What are you learning, exactly? Well, you’re learning how not to do something. You’re learning tenacity. You’re learning about yourself. You’re learning to develop the skills you need to succeed! 

3. Seek Authenticity, not Negativity

For many reasons, it’s important to pay close attention the people you allow to surround you. Read that again – I used the word ‘allow’ for a reason, that being YOU are in control of your circle. Recognize the people that always seem to be most vocal when things aren’t going well but remain silent when things are. These people shouldn’t be allowed to be around you. They sap the energy you need to succeed and breed more negativity. And let’s face, you can’t achieve big shit when you’re constantly surrounded by negative energy. 

Now back to my use of the word ‘allowed’. You are not obligated to have someone in your atmosphere especially if they serve you no good – and this even applies to family! No one has ‘a right’ to access to you and those that have the privilege to be around you, also have a responsibility to contribute to the positivity that propels you to achieve your goals. 

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