I remember this like it was yesterday. It was a defining moment.

My family and I were in Tahoe skiing Heavenly Valley. I was 6 years old. It was the end of the day, and I couldn’t wait to see my dad. I saw him at the bottom of the hill packing up my little sister’s skis. I unclipped my skis and ran toward him, “Dad! Dad!” I said proudly, “I skied by myself all day long and didn’t fall down one time!” Without looking up he simply said, “Well, then you didn’t get any better.” I stood there stunned. It was not the response I expected. A few seconds passed, he looked up at me and said, “Look Darren, if you don’t push yourself PAST your current ability, then you can’t grow. You have to fall to improve. Falling is part of getting better.”

I heard this over and over growing up. In fact, on our garage wall, which doubled as my dad’s gym, was painted in big black block letters: NO PAIN, NO GAIN. I owe much of my success to this philosophy.

I became an entrepreneur at 18 years old. I started like every entrepreneur starts—afraid, nervous, and without a clue what to do or what to expect. I had no prior experience, no training and no guidance, except for that mantra: Falling is part of getting better. So, I just kept falling. I got lots of skinned knees, bloodied noses and repeated bruises on my pride and ego… but that is also how I improved, got better and eventually figured out how to do it right.

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