“I’m Sorry – I Failed….”

These words send a wave of fear and shame through most of us.  And yet, as entrepreneurs, who are often traversing uncharted territory, we cannot always expect success and that everything is going to be smooth sailing.  

So how can we get more comfortable with failure and use it to put us on a path to getting what we want.  

Adopt a Different Mindset

Just watch toddlers learning to walk.  When they fall over, their reaction is usually a mirthful giggle and then they immediately try again.  Toddlers understand that their setbacks are in fact part of their progress towards their end goal.  

Unfortunately as we grow up, we learn to fear our failures, striving for perfection instead.  

Difficult as it may be, when you fail, focus on cultivating a positive mindset that recognises that you’ve now established that a particular route does not work.  You have the opportunity to implement an alternative approach.  

As Winston Churchill, who experienced many failures in his political career, said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Don’t Get Paralysed

When you experience failure, don’t let it paralyse you.  That’s like breaking a limb and staring at it endlessly, before seeking medical attention.  Sure you need time to lick your wounds, but implement a course of recovery as soon as you can.  Bounce back quickly.  

Often, failing can be a blessing – giving us renewed tenacity and creativity.  It can put us on the right path.

I’ve had personal experience of this.  Three months after starting my business I got enticed back into the corporate world as a Marketing Director of a multi-national.  The culture fit was a disaster (for both the company and I) and six months later I restarted my business, this time determined to stay in it for the long haul.  Now, 23 years later, I’m still in that same business.

Let Other People’s Failures Inspire You

Although most of us hate failing, the irony is that we love to hear stories about people who’ve had failures and eventually succeeded.  

Draw inspiration and motivation from others’ experiences.  

Steve Jobs was actually fired from Apple Computers, the very company that he is responsible for making the success it is today.  

When Jobs was fired from Apple, he stated “I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Learn to Calculate Failure

18 times bestselling author, Seth Godin, advises entrepreneurs to get a balance between failing too soft and failing too hard. If you fail too soft that means you are not taking the risks you should and can’t expect the breakthrough results.  However, you also don’t want to fail so hard, that it’s a financial wipe out.  

In Seth’s words, “The rule is simple: The person who fails the most will win.  If I fail more than you do, I will win.  Because in order to keep on failing, you’ve got to be good enough to keep playing.”

Bottom line, don’t be afraid of failing; learn to leverage it!

P.S. Watch out for the FREE 4 part Marketing training videos I will be releasing towards the end of May!

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