Have you ever felt like you should give up, but you just keep going on anyway?
The word “should” is often lost on entrepreneurs, which is why we’re in business in the first place. We followed our passion and a unique path instead of listening to what we should do, and even though any rational person would have quit long before now, we’re still in the thick of it. We plug away 24/7, trying to make our dreams come true and grow our business -- avoiding “failure” at all costs.
We’re used to being questioned and doubted by others and even ourselves. Failure, and the fear of it are forever married to the world of entrepreneurship, but we shy away from the topic like it’s a disease we’ll catch if it’s brought up in conversation.
Instead of running from it, I believe that we can benefit from embracing it and seek to understand what failure means as it applies to ourselves and our business. After all, what’s considered failure to some may be success to another.
A definition in the dictionary for failure is “lack of success.” This raises a question; are you a failure while you are working towards your goals because you have not yet achieved success? I don’t think so. To me, failure is when you stop doing what will get you closer to your desired success, however that success is defined for you.
In the business world, hanging a “closed” sign in the window of your store is seen as a quite literal sign of failure. But cutting your losses, intentionally not renewing a website domain, making a strategic decision to pivot your business can, in fact, be a step closer to success.
It’s not failure when you stop pursuing one website to put your time, money, and effort into another website that you enjoy working on more and is starting to take off.
It’s not failure when you close your family business to take a job where you work fewer hours because what’s most important to you in life is to spend more time with the family your business has taken you away from.
Entrepreneurship takes pure heart, determination, hard work, and the ability to bounce back and persevere. It also takes temporary failures, and the lessons that come along with them, to achieve long-term success. To call each of these missteps, defeats, losses, botched attempts, or busts is overlooking what’s necessary to become successful in nearly any profession. No professional actor has ever gotten every part they auditioned for nor has a salesman ever pulled off 250 straight successful sales calls. But if those calls, which resulted in 0 sales, led to the biggest sale that salesman has ever made, then they didn’t fail -- they were a necessity.
Failure is a state of mind and is as positive or negative as you believe it to be. Does it sting when something doesn’t go the way you planned or thought it would? Of course, but failure can be a useful learning experience of what to do or what not to do the next time around.
Failure is a hard-earned wealth of information. Decide to use that knowledge strategically instead of having it weigh you down emotionally, and you will be more prepared for the next go-around.
So the next time you feel like you’ve failed, smile and share your experience! Take pride in the fact that you took a chance, a risk, or made a choice most people wouldn’t have the fortitude to make. In doing so, you are smarter, better equipped and a step closer to your long-term goals and achieving your desired success.