Failure: The First Steps to Success

Failure: The First Steps to Success

Author: Wayne Sheaffer

I wanted to tell my story a little bit in business and real estate and then some lessons I’ve learned from it. We have a very successful business right now, however, it wasn’t always like that.

Back in 1995 was my first round in business and by 1997, I was bankrupt. So it only took two years to go bankrupt. I bought a educational course on how to do real estate. Bought a bunch of houses that I had no business buying, ended very ugly. Huge debt. Actually, I took my financial situation at the end, at 1997 to my pastor, and showed him my financial situation and where I was at. He said, “Let me take a look at your paperwork, and come back next week.” And I came back next week, and I said, “So what did you think? How do I get out of this mess?” He said, “Well, after 40 years of counseling, I think you are the worst case I’ve ever seen.” He was brutally honest with me. 

I jumped back into Corporate America and said, “Ooh. That thing with business, that’s dumb.” And, that failure in business. It’s done. Then in 2004, I’m working in Corporate America and next thing I know, they show up and say, “Hey. We don’t need you anymore. Go home.” And so I no longer have a job and I’m driving home thinking, “Well, what am I gonna do?” I said, well, I know one way to not succeed in real estate. Let me try another way. And so I jumped right back into real estate immediately in 2004 and then there was the market crash end of 2007 beginning of 2008.

So I find myself once again in trouble. I lost 42 houses in foreclosure. I didn’t go bankrupt that time, but this road has been a lot of ups and downs. And it’s not all been “This is great!” It’s been, good news, bad news. I learned some lessons, because failure can be a real kick in the gut. I’ve learned throughout the years that failure is the first step in this success process. And it’s important to know that because when you fail in whatever realm, it’s hard on you. Especially when you feel like you messed up.

I found some thoughts, from the Bible that have really helped me through the years. Those are some principles that I’d like to share. Proverbs 24:16 says, “For a just man falleth seven times and rises up again, but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” So, first thing, was that this is a just man who falls. So I want to focus on the word just man. God calls the good guys in the Bible “just.” So first thing is, falling will happen even if you’re a “good person”

Now there’s different types of falls. There’s little ones and there’s big ones. Sometimes there’s a health fall where people’s health fails. Sometimes it’s a moral fall where somebody messes up and they do something wrong that they never thought that they would do and it’s a moral fall. There’s a financial fall. I’ve experienced this in business. You just never expect it to happen. Everything is going great. Next thing, market takes a turn and you fail. So there’s financial fall. There’s marriage fall. There’s people who got into a marriage, thought it was the right thing and it ends up in divorce. So there’s marriage or relationship fails or falls. You got fired or laid off or demoted. These are all kick in the guts. These are all falls. These are all failures.

I love this verse here also, it says, “For a just man falleth seven times.” I want to focus on that phrase “seven times.” It happens. It’s a regular occurrence. It’s going to be a regular occurrence for this person. Many people believe that’s not just seven times in the number. It means that it’s going to be a pretty regular occurrence. It’s going to be repeating. It’s going to be a regular occurrence and you better get used to it. You better have a plan for when it happens.

Now, here’s where the focus is. The word “rises” for the just man falls seven times and “rises” up again. So I want to focus on the word “rises up.” He was restored to where he was before. That means he got knocked down, he was on the ground, and he’s back up in the standing position. He rises back up. Now, whether he got back up on his own, or someone helped him, either way, he got up. He rose up again. I heard someone say that you fall seven times, but you need to stand up eight. He gets back up to fight again tomorrow.

I love the Rocky movie where Rocky keeps getting knocked down, but he keeps getting back up. He has that inner drive he’s just going to get back up. That’s really where the focus of this verse is, is getting back up. That when he got knocked down and it takes some guts to get back up. It’s much easier to make excuses or to quit at that moment. When you’re on that canvas it’s much easier to quit and stay down there where nobody is hitting you. So we need a strong spirit and determination and that’s where you have to have a cause. And that’s why the first thing I talked about was a why. You have to have a why that pushes you through this stuff. To get back up.

You better have some passion in you or you’re going quit when the going gets tough, for sure. These are the type of moments where it shows what you’re really made of. Now, hopefully this will also make you a little harder to knock down next time. Because when you get up, hopefully you are a little smarter. And then that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, if you let it. Now you are in a position where you can warn others of the land mines. So, this is actually a good thing. These are some very encouraging thoughts to me that I’ve had of a guy whose gotten knocked down several times in business and in life. These are empowering thoughts. Now you can warn others.

So we talked about the just man, who this happens to falleth, different ways to fall, different types of falls, how many times this is going to happen, is it going to be seven times? Or a regular occurrence? The focus here is rising up again. And then I want to focus on the word “again.” He just keeps getting up every time he gets knocked down. And it becomes a natural response or a habit to falling.

Just some helpful quotes in conclusion. “It’s fine to celebrate success but it’s more important to heed lessons of failure.” Bill Gates said that. And then Thomas Edison, of course, he said, “I have not failed. I just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” And Lance Armstrong said, “Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever.” And Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure, with no loss of enthusiasm.” And I then I came up with my own. Since everyone had a quote, it felt like I had to have one. So I put that “The failure may be a chapter in your biography, but it doesn’t need to be the title of your book.”

I hope this helps those who read this and are struggling whether it be in business or personal life.


About the Author: 
Wayne Sheaffer Visionary… Visionary… Visionary… As the founder and owner of Good Success Wayne provides the focus that drives us all, Our “Why”. Wayne success has seen him build a real estate company upwards of $14 million and successfully scaled multiple real estate companies. His love for God and others it’s what drives his “Why” for our business, him and his family. His “Why” is to be able to give 2.6 million dollars in one calendar year to others. Whether he is working in the office on his business or working on his golf game for enjoyment, his work ethic and dedication is something anyone could learn from.


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