Dear Entrepreneur, Document Your Failures

Written by
Written by

Deolu Akinyemi

Why Entrepreneurs Must Document Their Journey

This blew my mind, and I hope it leaves you feeling inspired too. I have always wondered why I always share my failures and, in people’s words, why I make myself so vulnerable. Well, it’s because I don’t want to forget, and to really be a blessing to others, I need to share the full story of my journey.

The Power of Vulnerability

It’s a long read because it features my old articles and my compelling why. They are all important though, as there is no success without failures.

On August 16, 2006, I had the opportunity to share a platform with the MD of GTBank – Tayo Aderinokun, and I observed something that really got to me that day. Successful people are usually very distant and difficult to relate with because they forget their struggles. Success has a way of wiping the memory of losses and failures, hence, those who want to impart the next generation must learn to document their failures.

Learning from Failure

There is more to learn from failure than success ever makes available.

I went through my archives and saw these two articles, and it reaffirms to me, why I need to never forget! I will be sharing some failure stories again tomorrow.

August 29, 2006, I penned the following words, under the heading – We forget.

Have you ever tried listening to a successful man before? I don’t know about you, but I have one observation I have made. They always make it sound so simple! Here you are racking your brain and seeing if you can get a formula for success, you ask this old wiser man, what he did that gave him the great break, and what he tells you sounds so simple, and when you try, it doesn’t look quite as easy. Do you know why?

Now I know why! It’s because we forget! We forget about the nights of toil once the morning breaks with rejoicing, we forget about the pain once the beautiful babies are born, we forget about the struggles once we cross the line and hug our trophies, we forget!

The Wisdom in Remembering

Have you ever tried listening to a successful man before? I don’t know about you, but I have one observation I have made. They always make it sound so simple! Here you are racking your brain and seeing if you can get a formula for success, you ask this old wiser man, what he did that gave him the great break, and what he tells you sounds so simple, and when you try, it doesn’t look quite as easy. Do you know why?

Now I know why! It’s because we forget! We forget about the nights of toil once the morning breaks with rejoicing, we forget about the pain once the beautiful babies are born, we forget about the struggles once we cross the line and hug our trophies, we forget!

The Value of Stories in Progress

I came to the conclusion that the best time to talk to a successful man is the night before success comes, the best time to talk to a hero is when he/she is still a wannabe. The best time my friend, to listen to me, is NOW! Cos I’m still a work in progress.

I remember last year when I went all out to get the 15-year-old tape of a now-successful man. Many wondered why in particular I was interested in those years. I didn’t understand it well then, but I had observed that his speeches were more forceful than now. There was a cry in his voice that is missing now, the pains have died, and somehow, we all forget.

Three weeks ago, I listened to an industry leader tell us about the story of his success. His opening line was, “I won’t tell you what and what made me succeed, I’ll just tell you my story and hope that you’ll find the nuggets therein”. He wasn’t trying to hoard the information, he simply had forgotten.

Now Is the Time

I’m on fire now! I’m in the midst of the heat. I hear thunderbolts and see lightning flashes, the night is dark, but the motivation is high. I’m in the night before the final arrival of dawn. Now is the time to hear me out, now is the time when the commitments are being made, now is the time when I’m bargaining hard, now is the time.

5yrs down the line, except you have written them down now, you probably would also have forgotten. Let your life be instructive, write things down…start writing your own psalms, we all forget!

Dec 2, 2013, I penned down the following words, under the heading – I don’t want to forget.

The Importance of Remembering

The truth is, I’m managing an SME, and under my leadership, it’s beginning to turn out in the region of numbers that were in the dreams of some years ago! Business hasn’t been totally easy, but God has been completely faithful.

I realize, however, that in my business of busyness, I am somehow slipping into the error of not capturing the story. I am so occupied, virtually every hour, that I may take that as an excuse not to document my journey and give someone else the benefit of “how” and my point of view. It is not acceptable that I forget! No excuse is good enough.

Empowering Others Through Sharing

I remember sitting with the MD of GTBank about 6yrs ago, and feeling that he had become so successful, that he had actually forgotten the details of the early turbulent days. I committed then to work hard on not forgetting, and I will still work at it. I owe the people following me, the juicy details of the process of becoming. The journey ahead is quite far, as the vision is for a conglomerate running billions in the world’s highest currency.

Success Defined

What is success to me? Success to me, is having a team of 12 core people who can duplicate and succeed me completely. Success is setting the stage for others to succeed and empowering them to replicate the same with others. I can’t change the world as a one-man super-star, but I can reach the world by building strength and capacity in 12 humans. It’s a proven template, and the executor of that is who I follow.

If you can’t make my first generation, try to make the 2nd or 3rd. Don’t be far from me, I am not excited about what I achieve, I’m excited about what I help others achieve. I will start sharing my experiences, woes, failures, and triumphs again soon. Do learn from them, and make your journey better.

Thank you.

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