Now that spring is here and the end of the school year is approaching, high school seniors are starting to gear up for their last summer before embarking on their college journey. Recently, I had a high school senior approach me to ask if I could give him any tips on his quickly approaching journey, and more specifically, his desire to get into law school.
When I met up with this young man, he started off by telling me all the reasons he wants to go to law school. He also told me that he sought me out specifically because he knows I have been successful in my business, and he was sure that I could share some of my secrets with him. I laughed and said, “Young man, I have failed more times than I can count. I’ve made tons of mistakes, and there have been multiple times where I’ve felt like there was no way I could get this business thing right. The only reason I’ve been successful is because of my failures.”
I think my answer burst his bubble, because all he said in response was, “Oh.” This young man is a straight-A student, and he’s been great at everything he’s ever tried. Knowing this, I encouraged him not to be disheartened. “As you get older, you learn that nobody knows what they are doing the moment they start out,” I said. “Everyone learns by trial and error, and mistakes are the things that make you better.”
I’ve made many mistakes in my career. In the beginning, these mistakes stemmed from my lack of knowledge about the business world. Classes may teach you how to practice law, but they don’t teach you how to run a business. However, I was young and ambitious, and I began by basing my decisions on the actions of experienced attorneys. This worked in some cases, but in others, this strategy led to failure.
Soon, I began trusting my own intuition and going against the grain to find more success. This strategy did reap rewards, but I also experienced plenty of failures.
because of it. After a while, it felt as though it didn’t matter which path I chose, because they all led to failure. After some self-reflection and discussion with those I trust, I realized that the reason I had been experiencing so many failures was that I hadn’t bothered to learn anything from my mistakes. Once I took the time to analyze my choices and their consequences and apply the lessons to my subsequent decisions, I became a better boss, strategizer, and attorney.
More often than not, young people are afraid to make mistakes. However, as any experienced adult knows, it’s just part of the everyday process. Failure doesn’t define you; it refines you. Recently, the team at Dellutri took a huge risk and opened the Tampa office. This could end up being my biggest blunder ever, or it could turn out to be something truly special. Either way, I know that I’m going to learn something from it, and we will all be better for it.
No one writes the great American novel on their first try. In this young man’s case, he needed to understand that he’s going to make a lot of mistakes in the next few years. If he learns from his mistakes, he will know the sweet but hard-earned feeling of success.