The word “failure” strikes fear in many minds and hearts. The very idea of it has caused untold millions of would-be entrepreneurs to never even begin their journeys. The dreaded statement, “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed” comes to mind, as it is usually preceded by a failure. Negative emotions surround and make up the idea of failure; however, I propose that failure, though it should not necessarily be an aspiration, is not a bad thing, especially when it comes to building a business.
The world is littered with people who could be classified as failures but who, through persistence and vision, overcame that stigma and succeeded wildly. Here are a few great examples of “failures” you may not already know:
- Howard Schultz – The founder of Starbucks was turned down by 217 of the 242 investors he initially approached. No matter how you may feel about Starbucks, you have to admit it is a wild success.
- Richard Branson – The founder of the Virgin brand has started over 100 different companies from phones to records to airlines to condoms; however, only a small handful of his 100 companies has gone on to be successful.
- Walt Disney – The iconic Disney brand is known and readily recognized worldwide, and it has inspired millions of raving fans. Despite its clear success, did you know that while working at a newspaper prior to the launch of Disney, Walt Disney was constantly rejected and even told he “lacked imagination”? His first company, a cartoon studio, even went bankrupt after a bad business deal.
These are just a few examples of people who have fit the textbook definition of failure at some point in their lives but have gone on to achieve even greater things because of that failure.
The challenge is to not look at failure as a final destination but as a pit stop on the road to success. There may be many pit stops along that road. There may even be times when it seems as though the road has ended, but perseverance will carry you through. Here are a couple beliefs and ways to cope with failures, both in life and in business, and which I offer to you based upon my own experiences:
- Haters Gonna Hate
There are going to be people who will label you as a failure, they are going to call you a failure, they are going to tell you how stupid your idea is, or worse, how stupid you are. These people couldn’t be further from the truth. People have a vested interest in keeping you where you are, especially “friends” and family, so when these haters come out of the woodwork to say, “I told you so,” ignore them. Don’t react to them, and don’t give them the satisfaction of getting you worked up over what they are saying. Take the high road, the one that leads to success, and choose not to play in the mud with them. When you turn things around and success arrives, they will be the first ones looking for a piece of the action. I saw a motivational quote once that is fitting for these haters: “If you’re not there during my struggles, don’t expect to be there for my successes.”
- Tap into a Mentor
Mentors will be able to provide some of the most valuable advice for when you have failed. Chances are that your mentors will have faced something similar, or if they have not, that they will still have faced some level of failure and overcome that failure. Therefore, they make fantastic sounding boards when you need to bounce ideas off of someone. They can also provide direction after helping you talk through your reflections and draw your conclusions. Most mentors are going to be busy, so make sure that when you contact them to talk, you are not just looking for a shoulder to cry on. Complete the previous steps first, then plug into your mentor channels to help gain a better perspective and receive more fine-tuned advice.
Remember that failure is not a destination; it is just a pit stop along your path to success. Don’t let a pit stop hold you back from what you really want in life. Don’t let it control what you think you can and cannot do. Own the failure, and make it a part of who you are. Wear it like a badge of honor, because it is, and we all love having a lot of badges!
Are you looking for a coach to help you along the way? I have a dedicated team of coaches including myself that are here to help you build the business of your dreams. No matter what niche you’re in we can help you get out of your own way and expand your businesses bottom line! I offer a coaching quickstart package to help you get going on coaching and show you what I can do for you. Check it out here!
After you email us let us know in the comments how you have always viewed failure and fear. Have they been adversaries to avoid, or catalysts for everlasting change and improvement for your business? I would also love to know what failure’s you’ve had and what you learned from them!