Starting a business is a roller coaster of emotions. There are moments of joy and certainty, and there are moments of frustration and doubt. Although the process of building a business is often idolized, the reality can be anything but glorious.
In a new docu-series, The Movement, you follow entrepreneurs as they experience the ebbs and flows of launching and scaling a successful business. As three individuals sell their ideas and compete for funding, the grueling process transforms not only their companies, but the entrepreneurs as well.
By the end of the show, ideas and technology aside, three things stood out as the keys to success--and they're great lessons for all entrepreneurs.
1. Vulnerability is the greatest gesture of strength.
The docu-series kicks off with with a string of pitches. In two minutes, contestants are given an opportunity to sell their ideas and businesses to a panel of CEOs, talent leaders, investors, and strategists from across the globe.
Once the pitches were over, the audience's feedback was different than I expected. In addition to critiquing the ideas, many of the panelists made comments about the entrepreneurs' coachability--their awareness, listening skills, and adaptability. In fact, some contestants were selected based on these factors alone.
Take Glyn Blaize, founder of Northstar Innovation Group and winner of The Movement. He had a great idea, but his initial pitch left many people questioning the value of his product. Rather than getting defensive, he welcomed each criticism as an opportunity to refine. He allowed himself to be put in a vulnerable position where aspects of his plan could be exposed, but rather than writing everyone off and minimizing their feedback, he used it to enhance his business.
According to a study by Leadership IQ, a leadership training and research firm founded by New York Times bestselling author Mark Murphy, 46 percent of new employees fail within 18 months because they could not accept constructive criticism and feedback from their managers. They lacked the "coachability factor."
Whether you're a new employee or an entrepreneur, this serves as an important reminder that you can't expect others to help you if you're not willing to help yourself. Opening the door to criticism is as vulnerable as it gets. But if you're not ready to place the business's success above your pride, then don't be surprised if it fails.
Vulnerability is not weakness. It takes courage and confidence. It's counterintuitive, but being open about your limitations could be the key to unlocking your full potential.
2. Mentors can be the missing piece to the puzzle.
I've been fortunate to have had mentors all throughout my career. If it wasn't for their guidance and support, I'm certain that my trajectory would be entirely different.
Unfortunately, many overlook the coaches they have access to and attempt to tackle everything on their own. I don't know if this is because of pride, impatience, or a fear of being exposed. But a great mentor, in my experience, can save you months, if not years, of unnecessary struggle.
One of the major themes that came through The Movement was the emphasis on mentorship. The powerhouse cast consisted of executives and leaders from North America, the UK, and Asia Pacific. In total, there were hundreds of years of experience and wisdom in the room.
With their direction, each one of the three finalists made massive strides toward enhancing their business. From upgrading value propositions to the creation of revenue models, each entrepreneur solved a critical problem that was impeding the growth of their companies.
Regardless of the tasks at hand, there are others who have experience in overcoming them. It can be scary to open up and admit shortcomings, but a mentor can help you navigate career-limiting hurdles.
3. Success is not the end. Failure is not the end.
The journey--building a career or business--doesn't end with success or failure. Even with success, there are problems to solve and obstacles to overcome. Instead of measuring your value by wins or losses, fall in love with the process. Then, regardless of whether or not you fail or succeed, you're still growing.
In the words of Winston Churchill, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It's the courage to continue that counts."
In many cases throughout the show, the entrepreneurs had to overcome stumbling blocks created by both their successes and their failures. It's all a part of the process. Regardless of whether you're currently prospering or persevering, you're still progressing--and that's all we can ever hope for.
In my opinion, therein lies the significance behind The Movement. In the words of Benjamin Franklin,
"There are three sorts of people in the world: Those who are immovable, people who don't get it, or don't want to do anything about it; there are people who are movable, people who see the need for change and are prepared to listen to it; and there are people who move, people who make things happen."
This docu-series is focused on encouraging people to make things happen, and continue to move forward. And if more people feel emboldened to do so, that in itself will be a movement.