Are You Afraid to Fail?

I have a rule: I try to avoid doing things in public (at least around Lancaster) that may make me look silly or be seen as a failure. I think I‘ve always had this cautious approach … in work and life.

Thank goodness Milton Hershey didn’t feel that way. If you want some pretty convincing inspiration, I encourage you to visit The Hershey Story. While most people know of his immense chocolate fortune and philanthropic legacy, I was surprised (while visiting this interactive museum) to learn just how many times he failed in business before reaching great success. It reminded me of the adage, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” His ambition drove him to think big – which is why he sold his thriving caramel business (in Lancaster) to venture out into the world of chocolate where he saw greater opportunity. He had a fearless inventiveness – obviously not caring what people might think if/when he failed. And he had a keen ability to nurture a creative climate that inspired workers to innovate and experiment – which led to some revolutionary manufacturing and packaging developments.

No doubt Milton Hershey had great influence. And he used it to forge strong and respectful relationships, build tremendous business value and leave a remarkable legacy. While few reach the level of success and impact as Milton Hershey, I’m proposing that for people (me included) who need some starting encouragement or a daily reminder to write these three statements on a Post-it note and place somewhere prominently:

  1. See and shape the future
  2. Reinvent continuously
  3. Engage and develop others