Have you experienced “Take Your Child to Work Day” as a kid or parent? It wasn’t really a thing when I was a kid. But now, as a parent with a flexible schedule, I can often find opportunities to share a glimpse of what I do for work with my children.
Most recently, I brought my 7-year-old daughter to Black Entrepreneur’s Day, an event curated by Daymond John. A few weeks earlier I told Daymond how she was inspired to start her own business after reading his children’s book, Little Daymond Learns to Earn.
To my surprise, he made a personalized video to congratulate my daughter on her new business and invited her to attend Black Entrpreneur’s Day at the Apollo here in New York City.
Founded in 2020 by Daymond John, Black Entrepreneurs Day is the ultimate celebration of Black business and entrepreneurship.
This year’s event was highlighted by insightful conversations with Black business icons including Cedric the Entertainer, Whoopi Goldberg, SHAQ, Anthony Anderson, Cari Champion, Sloane Stephens, and many more.
Here are three lessons anyone – including my daughter – can learn from the experience.
Failure isn’t devastating, it’s just annoying
Growing up, my wife’s favorite movie was Sister Act. This might be due to the fact that she went to Catholic school. Anyway, my daughter and I were able to meet Whoopi Goldberg, the star of my wife’s favorite movie.
I asked Whoopi what advice she would give to anyone – entrepreneurs included – who suffered a setback. Her reply was short but powerful: “Failure isn’t devastating, it’s just annoying.”
As a stoic with a high level of resilience, this resonated with me. Sure, I do get annoyed when things go wrong. I’m not going to deny that emotion and pretend like nothing is wrong. In fact, avoiding that emotion makes things even harder on me.
Research from the National Library of Medicine supports this belief.
“Avoidance is typically considered a maladaptive behavioral response to excessive fear and anxiety, leading to the maintenance of anxiety disorders.”
In other words, if you avoid acknowledging a setback, things may continue to spiral out of control.
But while recognizing the impact of this failure is crucial, it’s also important to not get stuck.
Instead, make a decision to acknowledge, adapt, and then advance. Like Whoopi said, it’s not devastating – it’s just annoying.
Failure is data, so long as you learn from it
My daughter and I also met Cedric The Entertainer, a comedian and actor known for wearing unique, fashionable hats.
Like many entrepreneurs, he decided to turn his passion into a business. And although he has experienced some success, he admitted his line of hats haven’t achieved the success he hoped for. Reason being, it’s very expensive to produce the type hats he likes at scale.
Fortunately, he didn’t let that prevent him from taking on new challenges. And for his next venture he partnered up with Anthony Anderson, a fellow comedian and actor. Together they launched AC Barbeque, a line of premium barbeque and seasoning rubs. Their new business is growing at a steady pace as a result of their commitment to delivering a quality product that can be developed and delivered at an affordable price.
What can you learn from this? You might fail in some of your business ventures too, but failure is a great teacher, so long as you learn from it.
You only fail if you don’t try
We were also able to see Carli Champion, a journalist and television personality who currently hosts The Cari Champion Show on Amazon Prime Video Sports Talk. If you’re an ESPN fan you may also recognize her from her days as an anchor on the network.
In 2012 she joined ESPN as the new host of ESPN2’s live debate show First Take. As the show’s host, she moderated debates between sports pundits Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith. But she wanted to do more than just moderate, she wanted to be a journalist.
After proposing ideas for stories to ESPN, she made her journalistic debut for the network in 2014. But she didn’t stop there. Instead, she spent the next six months petitioning ESPN to become an anchor on SportsCenter, ESPN’s flagship program. In 2015 Champion was promoted to this prestigious position.
So how can you apply this to your own pursuits? Fiercely advocate for the recognition and rewards you deserve. If you ask, the answer will be yes or no. If you don’t ask, the answer will definitely be no.
So start making bolder asks, and remember the only way to truly fail is not to try.