During my first attempt at the Devil's Steps, a recreation of an obstacle from NBC's American Ninja Warrior at a training facility in Brooklyn, I lost my momentum, causing my hands to slip. I fell to the mat below before rolling into the neighboring pit filled with foam blocks.
Armed with these two words from the trainer at the obstacle -- who, along with others at the session, competed on the television show -- my second attempt at the Devil's Steps went much more smoothly. Hand over hand, I climbed the bottom of the v-shaped staircase, transitioning to the downward slope before swinging from the last step to the mat below.
As the contributors editor at Entrepreneur, I have learned from the experts I work with that you can find business advice in any situation. So I've culled my experience training on these Ninja Warrior-like obstacles and related them to these three well-worn lessons for entrepreneurs:
1. Just go for it.
Although I've seen many competitors successfully best the Devil's Steps, the Globe Grasp or Quadruple Steps on American Ninja Warrior, I have never actually attempted them myself.
The best way to learn to do something is to just do it, whether that's traversing a set of suspended baseballs using only your grip strength or starting a new venture. You just have to trust your instincts and abilities and go for it, whether that results in success -- as in my first attempt at the Globe Grasp -- or a big fall on your face.
Of course, you should always "watch the tape," or find someone who has already found success at what you're attempting, whether that's a friend, coach or a mentor, and ask for their advice.
2. Don't mind your competitors.
One of my favorite things about Ninja Warrior compared to other sports is the cooperative spirit shared by the competitors. You don't win by beating everyone else; you win by pushing yourself and your abilities to the max to beat the course.
When you're in business, you shouldn't be focused on other businesses. Your attention should be on delivering the best product or service possible.
This attitude will put you ahead of the other competitors and one step closer to the top of Mt. Midoriyama -- the ultimate goal for wannabe ninjas -- or whatever your definition of success is.
3. Beat the wall.
One of most loved, and feared, obstacles that is always a mainstay of the first round of Ninja Warrior is the Warped Wall, a 14-foot slope that competitors have to run then jump to best.
Many first-time competitors are eliminated after failing to traverse the wall. But the ones with strong wills often go on to train with recreations of the obstacle, and the next time that competitor meets the real wall, he or she blazes through it as if it were nothing.
That is to say, doing something for the second time is a lot easier after a first attempt. Even if you fail, try again. You will be better equipped to meet that obstacle -- whether it's a big, sloped wall or your next business venture.