While working in corporate America after graduating from business school, I experienced some significant successes (Vish’s periodic rants notwithstanding). And, since striking out on my own, I have founded or co-founded thirty-two businesses. Of these ventures, eleven have been ugly failures, eight have enjoyed moderate success, two are in progress, and eleven have become multi-million dollar wins. And yet, even after Vish’s object lesson, it took me a long time to be willing to pause at the bottom of the mountain, look back up to the top, and see the epiphany that had been eluding me. When I was finally willing to take the time to look back, I saw that my most significant accomplishments—whether working for someone else or for myself—did not come when I had charged directly toward my goal. Rather, they came when I had zigged and zagged my way to success.
I realized that the diversions and detours I had often found so frustrating had actually created more stable and solid businesses and outcomes. On the other hand—and without exception—each time I raced directly at a target with high velocity I failed.