Unless you’re a diehard Chicago sports fan, you may not be aware that this week Michael Jordan will celebrate his birthday. Interestingly, one of the greatest and most successful athletes in sports history has a lot to say about failure….or in his words, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
As many of us small business owners know, failure happens…but overcoming failure is often the first step towards success. Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur or you’ve had years of experience managing your own business, the fear of failure can be almost as crippling as failure itself. Unfortunately, without risking failure we can’t grow our businesses or grow as people. In the Harvard Business Review, writers Paul J.H. Schoemaker and Robert E. Gunther shared criteria to judge before making decisions that could potentially be mistakes, such as determining if “the potential gain greatly outweighs the cost of the mistake.” Though it can be argued that Michael Jordan may not have used this decision making criteria when he decided to retire from basketball to pursue his life-long dream of playing professional baseball (though he made many young children in Birmingham, Alabama extremely happy when they got to go see Michael Jordan play in minor league baseball games in their city), there is no doubt that by always pursuing his dreams and taking risks, MJ solidified himself as one of the greats.
In honor of his birthday, let’s all remember to not fear failure, take risks, and always try to be the greatest.