So there it is—that awful f-word. Failure. I guess to some small business owners, it is on the list of bad words. But let me tell you—it shouldn’t be!
I don’t have enough room here to explain it all, but I challenge you to look at the f-word from a different point of view. Let’s explore that for a few minutes.
First, failing at something does not mean you are a failure. Just like a person with a chronic disease or condition is not defined by the affliction, people who have a list of failures are not failures themselves. In fact, many of them are quite successful.
Part of the reason successful people are actually successful comes from their willingness to fail—and fail often. How better to learn what doesn’t work, where not to go, how to make money, than to take a stab at something and fail? When you make mistakes, you narrow the options and find the success.
I think it is possible to find success through a series of failures. In fact, the faster you try things that fail and get on to the next, the faster you get to success.
Like Thomas Edison said when presented with another failure (I paraphrase) “I have successfully found 10,000 ways it does not work.” Of course, he found the one (or several) that did work eventually. Did you know he brought in a team of researchers and developers so they could fail faster?
The other point is that failure is demonized–and it shouldn’t be. It’s not that people are bad when they fail. I see them as courageous, innovative and smart. Yes, smart. Because they know. They know that failure is something to be proud of and is only one step on a greater path.
We have all heard “failure is not an option.” That’s wrong. It is always an option and, in many cases, an opportunity.
People who fail are taking the chance, making action their friend. They are not frozen in fear and indecision. They have a different mindset when it comes to failing. Perhaps we would all be in a better place if we adopted some of the beliefs they hold:
- Failing is something that happens—just like success.
- Failing demonstrates action and the desire to achieve.
- Failing is a by-product of taking a risk, a chance.
- Failing is a lesson, not a life-sentence.
- Failing means we are one step closer to success.
When we change our perspective about failure, we don’t have to be afraid of it. We won’t be embarrassed, shamed or devastated by it. We can accept it, learn from it and quickly move on to the next stab at success. People who embrace failure as a passage are proud of their failure record. They aren’t placidly sitting on the sidelines. They are making waves and take pride in their efforts. Failure can teach us things that success never will.
Plus, people who embrace failure with a smile are more fun to be around! It’s the people who are afraid of ever doing anything wrong that make for poor partners and coworkers. We often say “we’ll laugh when we look back on this.” Why not start laughing now, and then move on to whatever is next?
So, reconsider what you plan to do today. Take away the fear of failure and think about all the opportunities you would chase, places you would dare to go and people you would seek out. Go ahead, chase those opportunities. Dare to take that trip and meet the people you admire.
Isn’t it worth it to get you closer to your ideal vision of success?