How To Know You Will Succeed

Anyone who has ever thought about striking out on their own has asked themselves this very question.  What they really mean, what’s really lurking in the dark corners of their minds is another question altogether.  Something far more insidious, the type of thinking that keeps you awake at night and can bring on a cold sweat in the middle of a summer heat wave.

What. If. I. Fail.

Stepping into the unknown is both exhilarating and scary.  The thrill-seekers out there would be happy to know that it’s a feeling that never goes away, whether you’ve been running your own business for ten months or ten years.

While I can’t answer the first question, I have far too much experience with the second.  Starting your own business, and failing, is horrible.  Terrifying, gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, and humiliating.

No one can give you a 100% guarantee that you will be successful, and if they do, they’re lying to you to take your money.  But don’t underestimate the power of gut instinct.  Are you committed?  Willing to put in the time?  Make sacrifices?  That puts you at the front of the crowd.

I’ve heard and read so often this one simple phrase: believe in yourself. The key to success according to a whole lot of advice out there is to just believe in yourself. In my experience? That’s nothing but fairytale comfort. The trick isn’t to believe in yourself, it’s to KNOW yourself.

Will You Succeed?

Do you value flexibility over predictability?  Are you willing to always give an extra 10%?  Do you love your idea or what you do enough to bet on yourself?  Are you ready to not just dream about what your future could be, but to make a plan and then take action?  Do you follow through?  Are you always waiting for the perfect moment (more money, more time, less risk) or are you willing to manage through whatever realities life presents to you on any given day?  You may not be able to guarantee success, but with some thoughtful and honest introspection, you should have that gut instinct that tells you that what you want to do is achievable.   And while failure is always a very real risk, it’s also bearable.  Survivable, educational, enlightening, and redeeming.

So, what if you fail?  The more important question is, what if you don’t?


Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.

~ William Durant