If you’re like most every other entrepreneur out there, you have a story of disappointment to tell—times when your plans didn’t pan out. It doesn’t make you a failure. No, you, like many others, have experienced failure.
It’s all part and parcel of the entrepreneur life, and you should be aware of this reality if entrepreneurship is a path you are seriously considering. You should know the road does get bumpy. You will make choices you will regret, you will eat your share of humble pie, and you will be asked difficult questions. Some days, you won’t feel so proud of yourself.
Achieving your self-made goals is hard, sweaty work. It involves ungodly drive, insane, irrepressible passion as well as a mind that spins and spins in compulsive possibility.
The Majority of Entrepreneurs Wouldn’t Have It Any Other Way
We have discovered 101 ways to hustle, the surprising benefits of networking, confronted our weaknesses face-to-face, and still, something indefinable within us, pushes on. It is more than proving ourselves, more than the freedom, the pride, or the desire to build a legacy. It is all of those qualities and more.
Perhaps the word hasn’t been invented yet.
For those of us ingrained with the ambition to keep going despite the pitfalls we endure, take heart. Then take a minute after a slip-up to reflect on these lessons before you get cranking again.
Be Thankful You Will Not Lose Any More Ground
Sure, you took a detour. A header. An opportunity didn’t work out. But consider yourself lucky. You have the chance to learn a lesson, which if you apply to your plan, will keep you moving forward. You will know exactly what not to do and because you realized the error of your ways, you can still salvage what’s left. It doesn’t matter if you’re staring at a smoldering pile of dreams. Somewhere in that heap is your purpose—the love of what keeps you going every single day. Recover it and rebuild.
One Mistake Is out of the Way, Never to Be Repeated
You have cleared the road to growing stronger, and with your new information on what not to do, your choices will be more deliberate and strategic than they were before. In fact, you probably blew open a door of possibility you didn’t even know you had a shot at walking through. You removed an option off the table, and now the way in which you conduct yourself will be more thoughtful and effective. Don’t be surprised at rogue growth cropping up in the aftermath.
Failure Gives You a Reason to Engage in Introspection
It’s not a bad habit to get into: periodically pulling yourself out of the fray to examine what you are doing and why—asking yourself what you need out of your day-to-day interactions with people. When a business venture or project slips through the cracks, it’s a bounty of sorts.
Use the time to take a long-distance look at your business and figure out if there are other ways you might stumble as you search out hidden opportunities. This is the perfect chance to take your pulse and determine if you adore what you are doing. Because if you aren’t obsessed with your passion, maybe your map needs to change.
It is so tempting to cave into the fact that a setback or fail happened, and far harder to shore up your courage and go after your vision again. If you react negatively to the shift in plans and stay in that mindset, you will fail. Guaranteed. But, if you lay out your missteps and pick apart what happened, if you can deduce it was maybe even for the better, or you can answer questions on how to never repeat the error again, you will be resilient.
Do this each time you stumble and you will turn into a finely-tuned entrepreneurial machine. A machine who knows what you want, how to say no to the wrong relationships and business decisions without sacrifice, and how to adjust your emotions so they don’t overtake you when a plan crumbles.
Lasting entrepreneurs are tough. They take the hits over and over and they stand up time and time again. After each sobering instance, they have learned how to dodge that punch in the chops, how to duck when a left-hook comes whistling their way. When you want longevity you must focus on it. You must believe in it and you must base your actions on long-term goals instead of the shortcomings of temporary ones.
This is why emotions over failings must be handled in such a way that they don’t result in a larger scale disaster. Feel the guilt, frustration, rage, etc. Then release. Next, examine where the wheels fell off the wagon, readjust and drive on to your hard-won success. You will get there as long as you don’t give up.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.