The only way to fail is to not try

Michael Jordan, considered the best basketball player of all time and “the guy” that you want to have the ball in his hands at the end of a close game, said this about failure:

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

What MJ is saying here, and I can call him MJ because we’re good like that, is that the only way to succeed is to put yourself out there.  To try.  If he hadn’t been willing to take the shot and miss, then he never would have had the opportunity to take the shot and hit it.  And the best way to learn, is to fail.

Entrepreneurs get this.  They live this mentality every day.  You stick your neck out there.  You get knocked down.  You keep getting back up.  You’re not worried that half the people you know think you’re crazy and the other half know you are.

Today’s marketer also needs to embrace this concept.  Especially today’s CMO.  The brands that are out there trying new things and taking risks are the ones that will win.  It’s why I love the quote, “Tomorrow’s brands can’t succeed with yesterday’s leadership.”

So my belief is, if you’re not failing, you’re not going to be successful.  Those that take the safe, predicable route are going to be the ones that fail because they’ll wake up one day and find that their competitor now has a deep, engaging relationship with their customers and it will be too late to get them back.


  1. Vicki Stover Hertzberg on June 1, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    SOVs (Students of Vicki) have frequently heard me say that something might not get accepted / funded / approved, but for darn sure it won’t get accepted / funded / approved if they don’t ask!

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