My dad always taught me to strive for perfection. I know, logically, that perfection doesn’t exist, but this mentality has taken me far. I don’t quit, I don’t accept no for an answer, and I don’t accept failure — because even when I make a mistake, if I can learn from it, it wasn’t a failure.
And, for the record, I have made plenty of mistakes in my life. We all have. When you see people at the top of their industries, it’s not because they’re inherently better at what they do than you. It’s not because they haven’t made any mistakes. And they sure didn’t get to where they’re at by accident. If someone is at the top of their game, it says a lot more about how they behave during their failures than it does about their successes. After all, our successes happen because of our failures.
The thing most successful people have in common is their ambition, unwavering optimism, and ability to pivot when needed. That’s how we beat our competition in order to thrive. That’s how I got to where I am now. Today, I’m the virtual CFO of 10 companies and part-owner of several more.
I’m happy with where I am in life and business. I’m not arrogant enough to think that my journey has been all that unique or special, because I’m sure there are plenty of people out there with a story similar to mine. But I do know that I’ve created this tailored path. I’ve said yes to opportunities that scared me, and I’ve said no to others that didn’t align with my values. I’ve plowed forward when I’ve faced adversity, and most importantly, I’ve just done me.
Throughout my 20 years in business, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me create my own journey and rise to the top, and here’s what I’ll tell the world about it:
Stay humble. I may be striving for perfection, but I know I’m not perfect. Even as I became increasingly successful within my field, I never let my ego get inflated. I’m also well aware of where my weaknesses are, and I seek out people to balance me out. One of my greatest weaknesses is teaching. I’m not naturally good at communicating the ideas that are inside my head to anyone outside of my head. I’ve found business partners who offset my weaknesses, and I delegate plenty of tasks, as well. As I like to say, you need to delegate to elevate!
If you build it, they will come. There is, indisputably, competition in life and in business. But I haven’t had to worry too much about it as I’ve grown my career because I focused instead on building great companies and nurturing great relationships. Today, I have more business than I could possibly handle alone, and trusted referrals were really what got me to this place. Focus on providing value and building relationships over what your competition is doing. If you do your own thing, they won’t matter as much.
Find your champions. There are people in my life who I will never be able to properly thank for the impact they’ve had on my professional career. I have an MBA in marketing, but I moved from marketing to finance (and beyond) because an early boss told me he’d like me to manage the financials and oversee business operations. He’s a huge reason I’m doing what I do at all. I then met a woman who worked with one of my current clients, “It’s Just Lunch,” and to this day, I credit her with why I decided to start my own business, Rossi Enterprises. Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to wake us up to what’s already possible inside us, and I’m grateful for their push.
Don’t be afraid to fail. In order to succeed, you have to be open to the possibility of failure. Obviously, don’t go into a new project with the intention of failing, but you have to remain open to it. With that, you can experiment within your business more, and you can feel more freedom to learn from your mistakes. That’s where true growth happens.
Stay flexible. We all understand that bad things happen, and if there’s a problem, I immediately look for ways to fix it, rather than dwelling on the problem. Being able to react quickly is key to running a successful business. I bring this attitude to my team as well, making sure that they understand I expect solutions, not problems. The most important thing I’ve learned in business is to trust my gut. It allows me to make quick decisions, which ultimately serves me and my company. Embrace change and your company will thrive.
You want to know how to be the best in business? I’ll sum it up for you in one sentence: strive for perfection, but know failure is possible. When you learn to embrace the inevitable challenges you’ll face, and understand your own path to be separate from anyone else’s, true magic will happen in your career and your business. Sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith, because with great risk comes great reward.