I think we can all relate back to a time or two…. or three where we feel we have failed. I have felt failure as a mother, a friend, a daughter, in my career and especially as an entrepreneur. And if we’re honest with ourselves, some of those “failures” have lasting impacts.
I remember my first time feeling like I failed as an entrepreneur. It took me about 8.5 years to decide to go back to being a full-time entrepreneur. Even as my knowledge of my industry and of business in general, grew, I worried that I would not be able to make it. That I would fail again, lose everything and have to start over. I worried that my reputation would be ruined and no one would take me seriously.
I remember helping others get their businesses going and all the while mine stayed stagnant due to my fear that I wasn’t good enough. I lost sleep over the memories of the failure I had endured. I felt those times were a testament not to what I know, but to what I, myself could do.
Fear of failure has the ability to shut down our dreams and our ambition…IF we let it. I’ll take another moment here for honesty – The fear can be real. We get scared. We lose our tolerance to risk. We allow the voices of others in our head. We hear our own voices talking down to us and convincing us of everything else we should be doing beside working on our dreams and goals…things like cleaning the car or that trip to the grocery store…but I digress.
We know in our minds the road to success is full of turns, setbacks and victories all combined, but in reality, when we face adversity, we often feel our failures are directly tied to our self-worth and our abilities. We allow these failures to impact our confidence. We can hear stories of over-comers and be inspired but we can’t really put that into perspective when it comes to the trials of our own lives. Even when we know it isn’t possible to achieve, we still hold on to this unrealistic culture of perfection which stifles our creativity and our innovation.
So what do we do?
We must see our failure as valuable.
Because we allow failure to hit where it hurts – our ego – we tend to take it personally and that makes it difficult to find value in the midst of those strong and present emotions. However, in order to grow, find value we must. Here’s how you do it.
4 Ways you can use failure on your way to success.
1. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Be human. It’s okay to be upset, embarrassed, disappointed and the like. Give yourself that. Take time to clear your head so you can truly evaluate and find the valuable nuggets. Just be sure to make it a point to come back to the address and review the situation to glean the lessons.
2. DO A THOROUGH REVIEW
Here are some key points and places to review:
- Ask yourself or your team if there are any lessons you can learn with regards to
- your customers
- the market
- your strategy
- your process (think planning, preparation, and execution)
- Look for lessons in yourself or your team
- Look for possible market trends
- Look for what you were able to control
3. BE OPEN ABOUT FAILURE
Don’t shoulder the burden of failure alone. You don’t have to blast it to the world, but have a chat with other business owners in your corner, your mentor, your coach or your accountability partner. They may provide additional insight you didn’t see, or could just be a sounding board to help you get through the feelings you are experiencing on your way to your comeback.
4. LOOK FOR PATTERNS
Is this something that happens regularly. There may be issues in your organization’s team, strategy or processes you have overlooked or haven’t addressed.
Every successful person has experienced failure. What separates them from everyone else is their ability to learn and grow from those experiences. And now, you can too.
Do you have other ways to push through failure? Share in the comments below!