The duo’s acumen and star power is one-of-a-kind, but their success still comes with universal lessons.
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You may have heard that Dany Garcia and her ex-husband/business partner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson recently purchased the XFL out of bankruptcy for $15 million dollars with help from RedBird Capital Partners. The powerful duo’s business acumen, along with Johnson’s star power, is unlike any other one-two punch, but there is still plenty you can learn from their latest venture and apply to your own business.
1. You don’t have to be first
You don’t have to be first to market in order to succeed. You might argue that there are advantages far as capturing market share, and I’d agree with you, but being first isn’t a direct flight to success. Tesla wasn’t the first electric car. The iPad wasn’t the first tablet. TikTok wasn’t the first social media app. You already know that the NFL is the “big dog” and that the XFL is but a flea on it’s back. This doesn’t mean that the XFL won’t succeed or even have an impact on the NFL or the way the game of American football is played.
One advantage to being second is being able to capitalize on your competitors’ weaknesses. Everyone has a weakness. Some are more obvious than others. Take time to study the modus operandi of the company or person who holds the number-one spot. What can you add or do better than them? The XFL started this by implementing rules that sped up the game and gave the coaches less time to respond. Time will only tell if these rules will remain in place, but make no question that the new ownership is studying and testing out new ideas to make the league stand out.
2. Don’t burn bridges
If there is anyone who can teach us how to do this, it’s The Rock and Dany Garcia. Most divorces end acrimoniously. Many business relationships end the same way. It’s easier said than done to not hold a grudge, let alone not burn a bridge, but you’ll fare better just letting things go.
As an entrepreneur, people will let you down. You will be lied to. You will be betrayed. People will steal money and or clients from you. Clients won’t pay. In the end, the only person you can control is you. Take the high road. You’d be surprised by how people will remember that, and many of the people who disappointed you will return back to you and become some of your biggest advocates. Plus, it takes energy to stay mad at someone. Your energy is best exerted on other tasks.
3. Public failure is a hell of a motivator
Some, if not all, of the most successful businsesspeople shared their vision with others over and over again without any fear of public failure. Many champion athletes are notorious for this. Most people won’t do this because they are afraid of what others will think of them if they fail.
The odds are not in The Rock’s favor. In fact, this may be one of the most challenging things he’s ever had to do in his life, especially because of all the moving parts that are outside of his control. As an actor and athlete he controls himself. As an owner of the XFL, the success of the league is dependent on dozens, if not hundreds of athletes and executive management. Star power aside, this is a true David vs. Goliath scenario, and we all have front row seats. Do you relish in moments like this, or do you wither?
4. Trust in the circle of life
On one of his social media posts, The Rock shared that, “The one thing that you wanted to happen oftentimes is the best thing that NEVER happened.”
The Rock never got to play in the NFL, which was his lifelong dream. Now he gets to go toe-to-toe with the NFL, battling for its audience. Bittersweet, or all just part of the process?
History is full of success stories where failure was just a part of the process that eventually led them back to where they wanted to be. Denzel Washington has spoken of an audition early in his career where he didn’t land a role, only to be awarded a Tony award in the same theater decades later. Steven Spielberg was rejected by USC and attended Cal State Long Beach, but now USC has a film school named after him. These are but a few examples how the “circle of life” operates, and you will have these experiences too as you continue to hold on and persist.
5. Get out of your comfort zone
Owning a sports franchise is the dream of many young athletes. But owning a league is on a whole different level, especially if it succeeds. If you don’t think that this is outside of The Rock’s comfort zone, you are mistaken. His mindset has evolved from player to owner, and it didn’t happen overnight. He has conditioned himself to be comfortable being uncomfortable. That’s the only way you grow.
As an entrepreneur you are always testing your boundaries. Don’t let fear paralyze you or rob you of the opportunity to expand and grow. Is it stressful? Yes. Will there be moments of doubt and regret? Yes. And what you will discover is that you can handle significantly more than you think. You should root on Johnson and Garcia, because if they can do it, so can you and I.