This article originally appeared on Garyvaynerchuk.com ☝️
In the midst of failure when you’re feeling so shitty and so awful, how do you actually gain positivity and move forward?
This was the question asked of me, in my recent interview for Haste and Hustle.
And I think about this everyday.
The last hour and a half of my day so far has been talking about nothing but what I would call micro-failures.
I personally separate failure into two categories: micro or macro.
A macro failure is dying. A macro failure is filing chapter 11 and going directly out of business. A macro failure is somebody you care about punching you in the face and saying, “You are a piece of shit; I will never talk to you again.”
I deem almost everything else a micro failure. I believe that most people look at micro failures and make them bigger than they are. It’s a mindset. There’s always a way to come back if it didn’t kill you.
It’s definitely the cliche “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” So for me, I’ve got a lot of things not going well. I’ve got way more things not going well than I have things going well in volume, but my overall strategy and vision is working. My day to day is not.
And I think most people have it reversed. Most people don’t take chances, and are doing things on a day to day basis to protect themselves from the shit, and the micro failures. But what’s happening is they don’t realize at a macro, they’re not moving forward, and so they’re losing.
For me, I literally fight fires for a living. I eat shit every single day. Problem after problem after problem. Every morning when I wake up, I have 27 emails and 19 texts, and 4 missed phone calls and 3 voice-mails telling me something just went horribly wrong. Or that the shit hit the fan, or that someone’s family member just died, or their brother was in a car accident or that VaynerMedia lost a huge contract. And even much more micro… I get texts and emails DAILY that an employee is having a conflict or someone is being a bully, or my meetings got cancelled, or I’m getting torn apart on social. Every. Single. Day.
So it’s easy for me to articulate how I deal with it, because I live it. Entrepreneurship is not fancy… Entrepreneurship is hard. It’s fighting fires, it’s failure after failure.
It’s unbelievably, disproportionately, eating dirt.
So I have no choice. Like, really? What happens when I lose a big client? I have no choice. I have no choice when somebody thinks I stink because they didn’t like my talk because I cursed. I really have no choice. When an event doesn’t go as well as you want, you have no choice. It happened. Get over it.
The question becomes, what are you gonna do about? Some people put their head in the ground and just shrivel up and never come back out. Other people go down guns a-blazing, which you know, is not the outcome they want.
You’re down, you’re having a bad day, you’re in trouble. There’s pressure, it’s going bad and you decide to go on the double offense, but you’re not good enough, so you just sped up the process of you completely losing. It happens every day.
Other people have perseverance and backbone, and I’m watching a lot of tennis right now. It’s so mental. It’s all in your mind. Winning vs. losing, success vs. failure is mental. It’s #mindset. You have to put yourself on the right track in the macro. Every other micro “failure” doesn’t really matter.
So the disproportionate amount of people reading this are going to lose because they get fancy or they become soft after having some level of success. They let the opportunity get ahead of them, they don’t try hard enough, or they just get lazy.
The only thing I want you to become aware of is how your environment has affected your response. Whether it’s success or failure, you have to decide what you are going to do. The biggest factor to whether or not you are going to be able to move on is completely predicated on whether or not you care about what people think.
The funny things is, I just don’t care what you think. I don’t care what you think of my car crash or my loss in the market, or the deal I missed with my client. That’s on me, not you. I could care less about your opinion.
The reason I’m saying this is because it’s ultimately practical. It’s just not a good strategy. It’s a massive vulnerability. You will lose. And listen, I am enormously empathetic that it was your mom or your friends that razzed on you, but it still doesn’t neglect the fact that it’s a bad strategy.
I worry about how I feel. I worry about what I think of the process of my failure, not yours!
So I have to decide, “This is not working,” and then I realize, everything I’ve been doing up to this point is the reason that it’s not working.
It’s not working. I take responsibility. And then I audit to how the fuck I got there then I completely take account. It wasn’t the hotel’s fault. It wasn’t D-Rock’s fault. It wasn’t my employee’s fault. It was my fault.
Accountability. Re-focus. Realizing I have no alternatives and then going all the fuck in on a new strategy and then letting momentum take over, because all you need is one extra ticket sale, one new client, one new good piece of content and you are back on the fucking train in the other direction.