Christopher Crescitelli | Crain's Las Vegas

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Christopher Crescitelli

Background:  

Virtual Reality Festival is an organization dedicated to the development and advancement of immersive entertainment technologies. It produces a variety of online programs, live events, and "VR lounges" around the world.

The Mistake:

My older self would look back on my younger self and say, "Hey, don't sweat all those problems. Those are just teaching you lessons for when things are much more serious in your future." And those lessons include the coming-of-age story that every entrepreneur has to go through: Who can you trust, and when are you being too nice and too open in a field of sharks that are trying to hurt you?

For me, it's always been a journey because I come from a conscious capitalism background where I'm here to tell the truth, do the right thing, help everyone make money, and give back to the community. Not everybody is trying to do that; some people are just all about No. 1, and so I feel the reason I've been able to stay working in Hollywood for 30 years is because I've been following that moral code, whereas I know a lot of people along the way who maybe climbed over others to get to where they're going and they may not even be working in the business anymore.

Sometimes we look up to people who are very successful and think, "That person is going to mentor me or help me in some way get to where I'm going," when nine times out of 10 you don't really need that person. Their inspiration and their help and support are sometimes helpful, but in some cases, it can be hurtful.

You think of someone who is really well established as a potential mentor – someone you look up to and admire who's really successful and has done amazing things – and you think, "Wow, that person is going to help me." And that person offers to help you, but in reality, he was a bad person and just trying to take from you. That person successfully took from me, but I had to learn that lesson. It's about learning who you can trust.​

Don’t second-guess yourself by giving away all your power to a more successful person.

The Lesson:

Don’t second-guess yourself by giving away all your power to a more successful person in the hopes that they will help you get you where you're going. Believe in yourself, believe in your power, and don’t sell yourself short just because you don't have as much life experience. That doesn't mean you can't also just break through with one great project and find your place in history.

Keep your moral code and don’t sweat the challenges and problems that come at you because they really are just lessons in life that are meant to teach you, even though sometimes it hurts a little.

And learn those lessons quickly, because if you don’t learn them the first time you'll learn them again and again.

Follow VR Fest on Twitter at @VRFEST.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Crescitelli

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