2021: Utilizing Failure as a Motivation

I used to see failure as the enemy; every thought jumped to the worst case scenario and it would often deter me from my ultimate goal. Repeatedly, I would find myself backing out of opportunities and not pushing myself because of this prominent fear. Fear of failure. However, something I have learned throughout my entrepreneurial journey was the ability to feel that fear, but do it anyway. Use that fear of failure not only to motivate you to be the best you can be, but take that failure and use it to pave the way for the best outcome possible. Due to the traditional ways of the education system, there isn’t room to fail. Not only is this detrimental to the student, as you learn the most through failure, but it encourages students to be afraid of failure. However, with The Startup Studio’s program being pass or fail, I have really been able to learn. Through my entrepreneurial ventures and my time in the Learn to Start course, I have fallen in love with failure.

Failure is and continues to be how I learn the most. When I fail, I produce my best work. Starting a business is like a video game, and failure is what gets you to that next level. Each time you fail, you get to that next level where you can really get going and fail again. When I fail, I am one step closer to my goal which is exhilarating. Getting passed level one when you fail the first time is the hardest, but you will learn from it and it will motivate you to keep going to get to level 2. And once you get to level 2, the ambition will spark and you will be excited to fail so you can reach the upcoming levels.

Every time a new opportunity arises and I feel that fear of failure, I take that and use it as motivation to work harder. I get excited when I fail because I know I am one step closer to what I am searching for. Simply, when something big scares you and you are afraid of failing, don’t back down. Feel that feeling, thrive off of it and be excited to fail because failure is amongst one of the greatest opportunities.


Ambition is a trait of mine that has flourished throughout my life; especially in my time during The Startup Studio classes. To me, being ambitious is doing everything and anything that possibly scares you. Ultimately, doing means failing. You can’t try to get past a level if you don’t mess up during it.

I love to pitch to new people, create new diagrams, and add new features to our branding. However, doing this all comes with failing and that teaches me how to do better. I learn from what I do wrong and I apply my knowledge to become one step closer to my end goal. My ambition allows me to take advantage of a basic opportunity and turn it into the opportunity of a lifetime.

Throughout my 2 years in the program, I have connected with every speaker that was brought into class, I have met with and have a connection with almost every global ambassador, and I have entered every contest and have taken part in every extra opportunity; all of this wouldn’t have been possible without the startup studio. While my ambition mixed with The Startup Studio’s opportunities, I was and am continuing to make connections, build my knowledge, cold email, and just step out of my comfort zone through what seems scary to me.

An entrepreneur was brought into class and she shared her story and talked a lot about her previous life events and how they all greatly contributed to her as a person. This really resonated with me and I immediately began to look up to her. While most people are thanking her and asking basic questions during the Q & A, I asked her for a one on one follow up meeting. While it was scary to ask, she is now one of my best mentors. She also recently had a contest and I entered it and was fortunate enough to have one because unlike everyone else, she knew me on a personal level pre contest.

I used to be petrified of failure, which would stop me from taking charge of opportunities. But now that I love to fail, I use my ambition to take charge of failure and turn it into motivation. When taking the leap and doing what scares you, no matter what it might be, you will truly be able to learn. Whether it’s learning financials, how to create an LLC and file for taxes, learning startup laws and regulations, figuring out how to use Figma, or the importance of mentorship I have been able to fuel my ambition through the opportunities that felt the scariest. I have allowed my ambition to take charge of opportunities so that I can fail. And failing over and over again is not only the best thing for my company, but for me as well.

So, be ambitious, take that leap and fail! Generate your inner ambition and use it to try new things that will make you fail, because not only is that where you will truly learn, but it is where you will grow! Being ambitious and taking charge of opportunities is truly when you are able to embrace failure.

Problem Solving and Passion

If you are lucky enough to know your passion and what truly sets your soul on fire, you are ahead of the game. For me, I am passionate about business and entrepreneurship which might seem like a good thing, but it was what made starting so difficult. Ultimately, whatever you are passionate about will fuel your fire and ambition, which will allow you to fail. Applying that passion and turning it into a company, will make you do whatever it takes for it to succeed. And that determination fired by that passion is what will allow you to truly embrace failure.

For me, I had absolutely no idea what business to create or what big problem needed a solution. But, when I started working on my first company photoloop, problem solving became essential as did failing. The way I like to think about it is, you can’t pass a level in a video game if you don’t figure out what you did wrong and apply it to concoct a game plan in order to pass the level. For me, passing the level is always reaching out to someone new, and watching a tutorial of some kind to learn.

Problem solving is essential to a startup company and essential to embracing failure. In my company, problems come up every single day and it is all about pivoting and figuring out how to fix it. Problems like not knowing how to use a software or jot a financial sheet are frequent and bigger problems like totally failing a pitch or having someone tell you your idea sucks and it’s never going to work because of the execution in a certain field. All of these are problems that have a solution. That initial failing point will knock you down but problem solving will bring you back stronger.

One of my mentors once told me that “the world is constantly moving and your company will be moving with it. Don’t let that thought scare you, let it motivate you because it just means you will be able to problem solve and continue to make your business the best it can be.” This is a thought that I keep in the back of my brain at all times. It really portrays the utmost importance of failing because when you fail you problem solve which only makes you and your company better. This quote also made me realize the importance of passion when it comes to problem solving.

When you are working on something you are passionate about, it ultimately doesn’t feel like work. And when you are an entrepreneur with your own company, you will be working around the clock. You have to love what you’re doing and who you are doing it with to be successful. For me, this connects to my passion for business and fashion. I absolutely love clothing and shopping but it is a detrimental issue to our world. This has become a huge passion of mine so when I am working, it doesn’t even feel like it. That is my number one secret to productivity; really love what you are doing. You also have to love failing because if you truly are passionate about your company, the only way it will succeed is through failing; and failing all the time.

Throughout my journey, I had to take an entire UX/UI course in order to problem solve and figure out how to use Figma, which really took my brand and company to the next level. This wouldn’t have been possible if we didn’t fail with our original website developer. Each problem is a blessing in disguise for the skills that come out of failing and problem solving. And for my company, whatever comes out of failing and then problem solving continues to mold my company into the best version of itself.

So remember, find your passion and run with it. Love failure and embrace it. Think big and do whatever problem solving you need to do to come out of that point of failure.


Having a team/business partner is absolutely essential to starting a business. Finding a business partner who balances out your skillset is ideal, but most importantly someone who is just as passionate. My partner and I came together because we both shared a passion for fashion.

My partner was working on her own in the very beginning stages and when she pitched her idea to the class I realized I was so passionate about it so I reached out to her and we started working together. I did not know what kind of person, worker, or business woman she was so I opened up to her and told her what I was in a company and my expectations for her as well as asking what her expectations were for me. From then on, we really built out our relationship and narrowed down our skill set to really balance each other out.

One of my mentors calls me and my partner salt and pepper, and we truly are because our skill sets are opposite. My strengths are my partners weaknesses and vice versa. My partner is there for me when I fail and we bounce ideas off of each other about how to go about solving. We divi up the work and research constantly. She really showed me the importance of two brains versus one.

Having a partner/team is essential to learning to embrace failure because you will have someone to keep you going and you will have another voice to help problem solve. With a partner, you are able to really work together to take your idea to the next level. Hence, you will fail a lot. Your partner/team will be there for you to embrace the failure, learn from it, and use it as motivation to really reach that next level.

By Sabrina Riback, LTS Alumnus

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Sabrina Riback

LTS Graduate (NBPS)

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