After accepting the proposal to write this reflection, I forced myself to write down the first thing that would come to my mind from my entrepreneurial experience in the US. The answer was failure.
I have failed at building a supportive network of Wharton entrepreneurs around me. The fact that my business (JuntoSalimos) is very different from my classmates’ ventures, pushed me to isolate myself under the assumption that I had little in common with them. Given the fact that my team at JuntoSalimos is based in Europe, Latin America and the US’ West coast, I decided to immerse myself in a self-reflection bubble instead of sharing my struggles with fellow entrepreneurs around me who were going through the same challenges I was.
More broadly, I have failed at understanding that while the US offered me a myriad of opportunities to grow as an entrepreneur, opportunities need to be chased, and once achieved, treasured. Again, the fact that I struggled to find a common ground between the nature of my business and Wharton’s broader supportive network (i.e. my classmates, faculty, administration), led me to undermine the value of all these resources and to miss the opportunity to benefit from a privileged environment.
I have failed because I did equalize success with being recognized. As a recovering perfectionist, I have always had a hard time coping with defeat. During my first year, I spent countless hours and days crafting applications for venture awards, entrepreneurship competitions, and start-up contests. While we did end up receiving one of them, I felt empty. I was unsure if my effort had been worthwhile after all.
Last but not least, I have failed at acknowledging my own failures and sharing my vulnerabilities with an amazingly inspiring community.
Just as life gave me a second chance after a bike accident I suffered in Bogotá back in February of 2015, my MBA is giving me a second opportunity that I am not willing to miss.
An opportunity to realize that I still have much to learn and share. One day, I hope that this relentless desire to grow will inspire other entrepreneurs to pursue their passion without fearing to fail.
An opportunity to reflect on how privileged I am and how much I would regret not trying to find the answer to my inner puzzles.
An opportunity to look out the abyss of defeat and failure with the satisfaction of having tried. Life is just too short to not pursue my entrepreneurial dream.
An opportunity to recognize my vulnerabilities and to understand that while in the most competitive environments, we are all full of fears and concerns. My mistakes today will be the pillars tomorrow over which to build my future as an entrepreneur.
Failure has given me the opportunity to choose the life story I would like to tell my grandchildren in my last days. I am glad I tried is how it will start…
The rest of the story is yet to be written.