Business and entrepreneurship can be a big roller coaster of ups and downs, meaning that there are times before, during and even after that you will feel bitter, angry, disconnected and frustrated. You have to be aware of this before starting as this can cause serious damage to your family, relationships and even personal well-being.
People often sacrifice a lot to be in business, and believe me when I say more times than not, the businesses they sacrificed so much for fell very short of their expectations and ended up closing. The question then remains: “Was the sacrifice worth it despite the failure?”
Some people have a high level of emotional intelligence and can look at any failure as a stepping-stone to success and even consider the experience the true worth, but many others cannot and end up losing it. The important part is to know how to deal with every failure and to understand what you are working towards, even if it’s not going according to plan.
True Failure Occurs When You Give Up
It is important to understand that the day you chose to walk away from your goals, dreams and beliefs is the day you typically throw in the towel and fail. Failing on various strategies or ways to get to your goal is part of the process for success. Without those failures, you would never know what works or doesn’t work.
A simple example would be someone whose desire is to sell shoes and whose first attempt may be to open a store only to realize that a poor location coupled with limited capital and poor marketing resulted in closed doors. But choosing to give up on the idea of shoemaking isn’t the answer as perhaps a new design, a new location, a licensing deal or an ecommerce platform may be a better fit.
Without trying, you would have no way of knowing what works, and the universe wouldn’t give you any feedback. This would create even more questions in your head rather than answers. It is okay to take a different approach, but not okay to give up if you still believe in your idea.
The point of failing in execution is to validate answers for you, not to tell you that your idea is stupid or without merit. The earlier stages of my first online business Secret Entourage were filled with huge failures, and at the time, I felt like we would never figure it out, but eventually with even more mistakes and more attempts at what didn’t work, we figured out what worked.
The success didn’t come from a combination of victories, but rather a combination of failures that culminated in a big win. The failure part is often something we don’t discuss in books or courses because it is not fun and quite difficult to swallow. If all business courses started with “you are most likely to fail” many would never even attempt to learn or take on business as the fear of failure is already something that dooms many and therefore re-enforcing that would lead people to run away. But it is the reality that you must face before starting a business, not after.
Make the Most of Every Failure
1. Focus on your next attempt as soon as you fail.
Instead of taking time off and capturing your thoughts, focus your efforts on the next version, parallel or vertical to continue moving forward. If your brain analyzes the failure or has time to reflect, fear will consume you and prevent you from moving with momentum.
2. Understand why you failed.
Allow your mind to accept that failure is neutral and it has its pros and cons. Accept that failure isn’t always your inability or your fault but rather a combination of thousands of possibilities. Understand what didn’t work and move on.
3. Identify the possibilities.
There is always another way. Quickly assess all the paths still open and push yourself to analyze your ability to take on each of those. Decide which to take on as a priority.
The idea of failing is not so that we can give up, but rather appreciate the victory even more. I usually recommend that businessmen and entrepreneurs realize that our goal in failing is to get comfortable with things not going our way and for us to become faster and better in the way we look at solving problems, create solutions and get up when we fall.
This is no different than riding a bicycle. It sometimes can go smoothly at once or in most cases requires several attempts until we move forward. Our goal is to gain more perspective and awareness with every attempt so that we can eventually succeed. Expect the bitterness and you will accept the experience.