Friday, December 21, 2007

Hearts, Diamonds & Dollars: Tips from Warren Buffett & Cotton Threads

Last night, my daughter, age 9, embroidered diamonds onto a red satin book marker. Warren Buffett, Soichiro Honda, and Thomas Edison all would have applauded her final stitches. That's because like those business leaders, my daughter converted a failure into a successful project.

Stitched from cotton threads, her diamonds were really meant to be hearts, she explained. But when her first design failed, she converted the misshapen hearts into pretty diamonds and felt proud of her final effort.

The process of converting failures --professional and personal -- into success is important, according to business consultants. Consider this bit of advice from Never Bet the Farm by Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli Jr.: "The resources, experiences, skills and decisions that you applied to a failed business may be just what you need to succeed in your next venture." (p. 15)

The Hall of Fame of early failures includes legendary investor Warren Buffett, who was rejected from Harvard Business School, (but was accepted at Columbia U.). In 1991, real estate maven Donald Trump was on the verge of bankruptcy, and over a 40-year-period, the founder of Honda failed repeatedly before launching a successful auto company. Here's his story:

Soichiro Honda persevered through countless failures and setbacks over four decades before his Honda Motor Company became one of the largest automobile companies in the world. His inspiring story demonstrates the power of perseverance in the face of adversity and the need for innovation and creativity in periods of failure and loss. --Critical Choices That Change Lives by Daniel Castro.

Likewise, in my own career I've learned to turn failure into success. Although, I was not successful in broadcast TV news, I learned a lot about writing, reporting and researching while working for a television news station. I was grateful for the experience. Not only did I meet great people, but I acquired skills that transferred well into my career as a print journalist. Here are the steps I used:

1. Honestly assessed my talents and interests. (I've always wanted to be a print writer.)

2. Began working and networking in my new career on a part-time basis. I started to write freelance articles for small publications while working in the field of broadcast news.

3. Switched careers by taking an entry-level position in a New York-based magazine.

4. Continued to be a freelance writer, while seeking different writing and editing positions in the print industry.

5. Attended various workshops and programs for writers.

6. Networked, networked, networked.

This piece from Daniel Castro provides practical tips about converting failure into success. This is my favorite tip:

"Tip No. 5: Accept that falling is a normal part of life, but try to fall forward—in the direction of your goal. "
source: 7 Ways to Turn Failure Into Success


Previous Posts


10 Little Budget Hits from
How Worrying Costs Me $6,500 a Year
Airhead vs Workaholic: What I Learned about Money from Writing a Book
Uncle Sam’s “Stocking Stuffers:” A Guest Post From a CPA



LongBeachBabe said...

This is a great entry. I have learned so many things from my experience with a "failed program" at my current employer. It also has been a time of opportunity as well.

Frugal Duchess said...

Thanks LBB:

I appreciate your thoughts.
I like the way you placed quotation marks around "failed program."

Take Care & Best Wishes,