Pioneer is just a fancy name for failure.
Other synonyms are trailblazer, innovator, groundbreaker, leader.
I know what you’re thinking: “Pioneers are celebrated. They are heroes. They are successful.”
But there’s no way you move forward into uncharted territories without making mistakes. Lots of mistakes. Really big mistakes. In other words, failures.
But the difference in a pioneer and a true failure is that the pioneer addresses the mistake, then moves on. A failure let’s a mistake stop them in their tracks, and accepts it as unsolvable.
Some of us face things that have never been done before. At least specific enough to our situation. It may be a completely new product idea. Or maybe a break from your company’s traditional way of doing business. And when that happens, you have no reference point, because you’re the first. You’re the pioneer. And when you’re the pioneer, you have to plan for unforeseen challenges, mistakes and failures.
An expedition with Lewis & Clark was filled with carnage. Hiking to the North Pole guarantees a bout with frostbite. Safaris are characterized by encounters with lions, killer bees, snakes or all of the above.
And if you’re a pioneer, you’ll experience plenty of stuff you didn’t see coming. Shipping costs are 15% higher than expected. The Chinese New Year screws up your timeline. Product testing unveils a major flaw.
But if you plan for it, accept it, address it, fix it and move on, that’s when you’ll be a real pioneer.