You Don’t Have to be Completely Prepared to be Successful
When considering many successful individuals – regardless of industry – the success they’ve achieved is almost always built on risk, confidence, and resilience. This is certainly what I’ve experienced throughout my career. It began at the age of 24 when I was offered a position that I wasn’t completely qualified for. The thing is, if I would have waited to be qualified to try something, I would have never left Laurel, Mississippi. I have met many people—in business and in life—who seem to trust in the philosophy that your next move should be the one for which you’re already prepared. I disagree; I believe in pursuing your desired path regardless of your level of preparation.
Be decisive. Be confident in the fact that if you’re smart and focused, you’ll learn faster when you’re in over your head or out of your depth. I have had people tell me that I’m a risk-taker, but it hardly ever feels like a risk. So, the thought that I might be too young or too underqualified or too anything to apply for that position never entered my mind. Instead, I trusted my gut, trusted my brain, and trusted myself enough to not get in my own way – and it worked.
I continued to apply this approach at every step and turn throughout my life – which has been anything but a linear track. A linear track, however, is not what got me to where I am today. Instead, you must be willing to not only dive in and do even if you don’t feel prepared, but you also need to accept that the most significant lessons are those you don’t see coming.
Whether for good or bad, how we respond to the unpredictable will determine our level of success in life. I’ve been thrown curveballs that could have easily discouraged or benched me. I remember a call I received while working for a start-up called, Link Scientific Imaging. I picked up the phone, “Mr. Webb,” the voice on the other end of the phone said when I answered in my office. “The company has been sold, and the chair you are sitting in needs to be vacated by the end of the day. You have no equity, so therefore you are terminated.”
I was floored. I’d been running myself ragged trying to keep up with the job, my ego, and the fantasy that I was in control. It was like a bucket of cold water in the face, followed by a hard slap—and I suddenly saw the mistakes I had made following someone else’s dream. But I also saw the opportunity I had uncovered.
If I’ve learned anything over the course of my life it’s this: resilience is the most important thing in life and in business. It is the key ingredient of success and the thing that will never let you down. There have been a number of times I could have quit. I could have soothed self-pity in the bottom of a bottle, but instead, something wouldn’t let me fall prey to the victimhood I’d seen so many times in my life. Those who get up and back to work are the ones who succeed. You are capable of whatever it is you want to achieve. Seize opportunities that present themselves – even if you feel a bit out of your depth – and get back up when you get knocked down.
Learn more about my journey in Redneck Resilience.