J.K. Rowling at a charity evening to raise funds for 'Lumos' in London on Nov. 9, 2013.
Danny E. Martindale—Getty Images
December 30, 2015 12:00 PM EST

Have you ever been told that you have to fail to succeed? That you should try to fail forward (whatever that means)? Or maybe the classic, “third time’s the charm?” After a long string of “almost-but-not-quites,” one too many “better-luck-next-times,” trying again can feel like the labor of Hercules.

Luckily (or unluckily), you’re not alone! As isolating as these personal struggles might feel, everyone experiences failure, even the people who have made it to the top of their professions. No one achieves their dreams on the first attempt, and for these influencers like so many others, success only came after (often repeated) failure.

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