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Vivek Goenka

Vivek Goenka is the President of Warren Tea, one of the largest tea producing companies in India. He is associated with the Indian Tea Association and the Governing Council Member of Tea Research Association of India. An active member of Entrepreneur’s Organization, he was the president of its Kolkata chapter. His interest in sports help him team-up with his EO buddies to run the Tata Steel 25-km marathon as part of My EOGo Beyond, which has served as one of his best crash courses in Leadership.

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Lessons From Failure In An Entrepreneur’s Life

The life of an entrepreneur is always full of challenges. From the conception of an idea to bringing it to fruition, there are different and unique obstacles we face

Since my school days, I have always been inclined toward sports. I have also aimed to run a marathon. But as real life caught up with me, I put these plans on the backburner. After many years and much procrastination, I finally decided to work on my goals with my Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) buddies. 

That’s how “MyEO Go Beyond,” a personalised forum geared toward one’s unique interests and passions, was conceived. MyEO is a programme delivered through EO that affords members the chance to personalise their EO experiences while connecting with peers. After 12 weeks of intense training, on 28 December, 2014, 25 people ran the Tata Steel 25 km marathon. This event was truly an inspiration, as it was the best “crash course” in leadership I’ve ever experi-enced. MyEO Go Beyond has truly been a motivational story for many people, and it reminded us how important it is to pursue your goals and push past any challenges you face.

The life of an entrepreneur is always full of challenges. From the conception of an idea to bringing it to fruition, there are different and unique obstacles we face. Any of these challenges may be detrimental and could lead to dire consequences. While setbacks are natural and maybe even certain, it is how an entrepreneur deals with them that demonstrates her or his capability. People often believe decisions taken to overcome such setbacks are purely business in nature. However, that is far from true. It is the inner struggle of handling pressures and thinking straight where entrepreneurs often stumble and collapse. During the journey of an entrepreneur, failure may be inevitable. But one’s mental capacity and ability to deal with such failure truly separates an effective entrepreneur from the others. 

Reflecting back to MyEO Go Beyond, when 25 entrepreneurs ran a 25-km marathon for the first time, none of them had ever participated in a marathon before. After several months of training, the participants managed to complete the race. During the training process, I was bestowed the nickname of “Captain,” because I had pushed everyone to go beyond her or his limits. Buoyed by the aforementioned endeavour, I took up the challenge of trekking to Mount Everest’s Base Camp (EBC) with 15 fellow EO members. However, I had an accident and had to undergo reconstructive knee surgery and ultimately failed to take my team to EBC, and thereby, also failed myself. Both mentally and physically, I felt “finished.” 

Setbacks and failures are routine in the life of an entrepreneur, but dealing with them is what gives one the strength to overcome fears and “go beyond.” With this failure in mind, I decided to set my mind straight to work on my goals again. Staying depressed or blaming luck has never helped anyone in achieving anything. So, in 2016, we again trekked to EBC, and this time it was successful. We also participated in Oxfam, a 100-km walk in Lonavala. When I signed up for the Oxfam walk in Mumbai, I knew it was going to be a difficult journey. It involved walking day and night across hills, streams, forest, fields, tar and mud roads to finish within the stipulated 48 hours. After many months of intense training, I was set for the walk. It was the greatest physical and mental challenge I have ever embarked on and completed. 

I’ve since planned my next adventure: Along with 20 EO buddies, we will explore Mount Kilimanjaro this February together. As difficult as it may be, passion, dedication and perseverance makes one prevail. As challenges become tougher, our passion pushes us to go beyond the ordinary and experience the extraordinary. I’m excited to experience this with EO, and I’m looking forward to learning more about how I can always achieve my goals with passion and purpose.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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