“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

Who can forget that line in the Wizard of Oz? This is when the great and wonderful Oz is unmasked by Toto to be a mere mortal, a self-described humbug, working the levers and controls behind the curtain. Even with that unveiling, he still bestows on Dorothy’s companions their life’s desires – courage, brains and a heart as well as a way for Dorothy to find her way home.

Last week, Angela Lauria, my publisher and mentor was named by Entrepreneur magazine to the “2017 Most Inspirational Entrepreneurs to Watch” list (coming in at #8!). Over the last five years she has built her business from a part-time book coach to the CEO of a fast-growing successful company assisting hundreds of authors to “make a difference” by publishing their books. Her vision to create a world where authors impact millions of lives remains clearly in view.

As one of her authors, over the past year I have had the opportunity to witness firsthand her success. While this honor is well-deserved, it reminded me of how much of what we don’t see goes into these accolades and awards. I am more impressed with Angela’s willingness to share the missteps with us as well as the tenacity to keep going when others would stop. And what I’m talking about are the things that do not go well – the projects that fall apart, choosing the wrong strategy or the simple failures that follow anyone who chooses to go beyond their comfort zone to serve others and try new things.

Because of Angela’s openness and that of the entrepreneurs in our mastermind group, every single day I have the privilege of witnessing epic successes and fails. And frankly, we celebrate both of them with equal love and energy. Because here’s the lesson – you can’t have the successes without the failures. Just like the “overnight” success of an entrepreneur who has been working at his business for 10 years. When he finally “makes it”, the miscues or inevitable disasters are often diminished or forgotten altogether.

I have many personal and professional heroes whom I follow and admire. But in the end, I think it’s important to remember that all of us, like the Wizard, are just ordinary people who can do extraordinary things should we choose to follow that path.

Please pay attention to the (wo)man behind the curtain.

This is where the real lessons are.