Failure or Success: You Decide


I often talk about the front side and the back side of an entrepreneur's resume/bio. The back side of your life, resume is the side most of us are least comfortable letting other people see or know. Most of us spend our life presenting the 'front side,' our best side, the successes and home runs of our lives and our businesses. Why? Because most of us falsely believe if we share the back side; the failures, the white water moments, disappointments, losses and errors of our lives, no one will want to do business with us.

Maybe it's because the back side of my resume is so ample, the white water sections so frequent that I've grown comfortable sharing both the front  and back side; of my resume with others.

 My story has it's front side; 2 incredible children, a healthy life, incredible blessings a 15+ year run at co-owning and building a 13M dollar + haircare chain, a $5M dollar franchise division and profitable product brand. And my story has a 'back side,' the end of my 16 year marriage, the crash and burn of a startup, rebellious teenagers and more…

Failure or Success? Depends on how you look at it.

If I hadn't built a successful company I wouldn't know how to  scale an entrepreneurial venture, if I hadn't failed at start-up I wouldn't know the importance of sequencing and financing new ventures. If I hadn't been both a millionaire and broke I wouldn't have learned the value of money.  If I hadn't  married my high school sweet heart I wouldn't have my two incredible children.

Success or failure:  depends on how you look at life, doesn't it?

Perspective is everything.

Take it from a woman who has spent months, years swimming in torrid white water adding massive content to the back side of her resume. The toughest moments, the moments I've been most tempted to label 'failure' have in reality, been my most successful  moments. What I've learned is that I've been most successful in the moments where I refused to give up, the moments where I chose faith, belief, joy an where despite the score card I continued to show up and serve and give.

 You see success is about staying in the game, it's about rising every time you fall, it's about being honest when you do fall and it's about helping others regain their balance.

Success is refusing to stay down.

My clients, friends and family know that I've hit home runs and I've struck out in both business and life. Transparently, I share both the front and back side of my life and career with all.  In doing so I allow others to gain a new perspective on their own life circumstances, the white water sections of their own journey.

You see I was just kidding, when I said…. Success or Failure it depends on how you look at it.

Because really; there is no failure; it's all success. It just depends on how you look at it!

Failure or Success: I call it all Success.

4 Responses to “Failure or Success: You Decide”

  1. Peter Chee

    Thanks for sharing Pam. I’d gladly exchange back side stories with you. I’ve got tons of respect for those that are able to talk about those white water times in their life.
    I’m all for staying positive and I can’t stand complainers, but, in my situation, it’s rarely perfect. When I say perfect, picture a still, smooth, glassy, mirrored lake first thing in the morning.
    It’s those moments that make it all worth it. Being quiet and being able to recognize it is equally important. Especially for the entrepreneur who’s finish line keeps being pushed further and further out.
    I’d have to fully agree with you, success is about how you look at it. It’s about dealing with life’s challenges and getting back up after you’ve fallen. One thing that this post is making me think about is about how I fall. Pam, what do you think about that? It seems so hard sometimes to fall gracefully. When in the middle of it all it seems like its easiest to just be a wreaking ball…

  2. Pam Hoelzle

    Wow,great thoughts and question Peter. How we fall…I think I’ve unconsciously been the wrecking ball on many occassions. A few thoughts I have; I think I need to fall (others would say fail) faster. Not spend so much time keeping myself from falling. I think we need to stop fighting the falls- because we artificially stay engaged in ventures, relationships, projects that are dead ends. Falling gracefully I guess would be in a way that doesn’t blame others or yourself in such a way you and they become labeled as ‘fallers’ ( failures) Grace is unmerited favor, unconditional acceptance. I am writing a chapter about Grace now and I like that you used the word graceful. What if we unconditionally allowed ourselves and others to fall; fast; often and repeatedly and embraced the fact that this journey is more about getting up than always standing…Fall gracefully…fall fast…and keep getting up…

  3. Peter Chee

    I don’t think that you want to spend a lot of time keeping yourself from falling, but, because entrepreneurs are so tenacious it’s sometimes very hard to know when to say its time to fall.
    In my experience, surrounding yourself with people that have been there and done it before can help speed up that process. I’ve got a loose board of advisors through one of my entrepreneur organizations. I’m looking to create a more formal board of advisors. I’m not sure I’d want to unconditionally watch those around me fall, fast, often. I’d rather share my experiences and hope they avoid that same traps I’ve fallen into.

  4. Pam Hoelzle

    Peter- great advice I agree I wish someone would have told me at age 19; get your own life advisory board- let it morph and change over time but find others whose expertise and knowledge can support you in your own journey and dreams. I tell my clients; 3 to be free; 5 to thrive;surround yourself with excellence and stay open.
    I think my thoughts on fall fast are more associated with the idea that I don’t want people to not try because of fear of failure. Get over yourself life is an adventure- certainly don’t intend to fall down but by the same token don’t not show up, not engage for fear you might fall down and if you have to practice….falling down and getting up till you can stand!