“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it” – Oprah Winfrey
If you ask me what I regret the most, then my answer would be, “not starting early and not failing early”. I did my first internship when I was 20 years old, I started my first full-time job when I was 22, I created my first business-plan when I was 26 and I started my first venture when I was 27.
Now, when I look back I feel that not starting early and not failing early is one of the biggest mistakes one can make in his life. Probably I could have started my entrepreneurship journey when I was 20, failed and learned harsh realities by the time I was 22.
When I see young kids going for the secure, high-paying internships or jobs in big companies/ brand names, I ask myself what they will get out of this position. Brand name, respect among friends and family, big bucks and what else. They will probably enjoy free 5-course luncheons and dinners, pool tables, office-parties, gyms, and luxurious recreation centers but what else.
What will they learn about challenges of starting a business? What will they learn about innovating without enough budget and resources? What will they learn about experimentation? What will they learn about stress and sleepless nights? Probably nothing!
On the other hand, kids who begin their professional journey with start-ups get better opportunities to learn, fail and grow. In a start-up, you don`t limit yourself to one particular skill or job profile but you get opportunities to do more and contribute in many different areas. At such an early age you get an amazing opportunity to decide the overall business strategy for your start-up, you get an opportunity to work and have intelligent discussions with CEOs, CTOs and Board of Directors very frequently. And if you are a valuable contributor and your start-up grows due to your efforts then you have an opportunity to rise to executive level position.
Career path of Marissa Mayer, President and CEO of Yahoo is the perfect supporting example of my point. In 1999 when she completed her Masters in Computer Science from Stanford University, Marissa Mayer had 14 job offers including a teaching job at Carnegie Mellon University, a consulting job at McKinsey & Company and an engineering job at Google. However she took a major risk and joined Google, which was still a start-up and 19 employee company. She rose to become Vice President of Search Products and User Experience in 2005 and later became CEO and President of Yahoo in 2012 in the early age of 37. She summarizes her risk-taking attitude amazingly, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”
Similarly, other idols such as Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs took major risks in their early 20s or even before that and that risk-taking attitude at an early age made them what they are today.
We at Mera Medicare truly believe in associating with young kids of 18 to 24 years old and providing them immense opportunities to learn, grow and do something that they have never done in the past. We not only make them a part of important decision-making activities but also enable them to gain maximum out of their roles and responsibilities. Our honest efforts to nurture them and make next leaders are highlighted in previous article on Linkedin: The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been
There are thousands of great start-ups in India and other countries of the world that have potential to become next Facebook, Google or Apple. My appeal to college students is to get associated with start-ups in whatever capacity you can, join as Intern or Student Ambassador or College Ambassador. Or, if you have your own idea then work on it today, take risks today, learn as much as you can.
There is no shame in failing when you are young and there is no glory in failing when you are old.