The most celebrated of entrepreneurs, celebrities and prominent figures in the world prove it’s possible to come out on the other side of failure — in fact, the tenacity to bounce back from their misfortune, and to accomplish even greater things is a common trait amongst many.
Transformational leader, premier life coach and mentor, Dorothy Biagioni, says “we tend to think of failure as something shameful, undesirable. Failing to achieve our goal often causes negative feelings, no matter how big or small the goal was.”
Biagioni says we need to learn how to overcome those feelings of rejection: “understand that failure is part of the process of success and leaves valuable lessons if we know how to learn from it.”
These success stories have come out thriving from their misfortunes — from City of Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba, to local entrepreneur and restaurant owner Miles Kubheka.
Mayor, Herman Mashaba
Mashaba dropped out of university due to political uprisings. Determined to make something out of his life, he started working for Spar Pretoria as a clerk. After seven months at Spar, he left to join Motani Industries where he worked for the next two years.
He decide to leave and join a hair care manufacturing business, and later set up his own hair care manufacturing business under the name Black Like Me. In 2004, Mashaba resigned as CEO and went on to join various industries such as mining, real estate, and politics. Today, he is a thriving entrepreneur, investor, and mayor of Jo’burg.
Talk show hostess, Mosunmola Abudu
You probably know from her talk show, “Moments with Mo" on Ebony Life TV (DStv 165); but media personality Abudu is also the Executive Chairperson and CEO of Ebony Life TV, Africa’s first Global Black Entertainment and Lifestyle Network. She has also been named as Africa’s Most Successful Woman, according to Forbes.
Sounds amazing right? However, getting there was not an easy journey. In 2006, Abudu approached DStv with her proposal for Moments with Mo, she took about five episode of the talk show, but they were all rejected. When her proposal was finally accepted, she was told they were not going to commission, meaning she had to look for a sponsors. She eventually did after almost giving up on her idea.
Entrepreneur and author, Miles Kubheka
Kubheka is renowned for his trendy, upper-class restaurant, Vuyo’s in Soweto’s tourist hub, Vilakazi Street. Vuyo’s has become a household name and tourist attraction for many who visit the South; and over the years, Kubheka has gained many other notable achievements including publishing his book: Vuyo's - From A Big Big Dreamer To Living The Dream.
Business, however was not always flourishing for this IT graduate. When he opened his first restaurant in Braamfontein back in 2006, the feedback was not at all positive. He says this was one of his lowest points in life, because it was “the crushing failure of his first sit-in restaurant.”
However, he managed to turn things around, and his biggest lesson on failure: “More often than not, people are not afraid of failure itself, it’s actually what comes with it – the negative stigma, the loss of income. But we need to fail more – if you do more, the chance of failure is more, but the chance of success is more as well,” he revealed in an interview with SME South Africa.
What we’ve learnt from these big dreamers: past failures and rejection did not paralyze their dreams – instead, resilience, sweat, tears, and hard work ushered them to their empires.