Is there a time in your life that you feel numb brought by series of failures? Perhaps, you’ve given up as you relentlessly recall the past and curse yourself? Failing is inevitable to entrepreneurs - rich and poor alike.
All of us hate to fail. But little that we know that failure helps us grow - both personally and financially. Personally, it allows us to learn how to be responsible and accountable for our decisions. We learn to take ownership. On the other hand, failure teaches us to be smart on how to grow our net worth because it enables us to trim down unnecessary costs and activities in the business plan. In this way, failure helps us think strategically about how to improve the core operations that will bring us more profit with less time and costs.
To make sure that we make the most out of failures, here are four ways that we shouldn't do while everything is downhill.
1. Taking it personally. Most of the time, when people fail, they treat themselves as "losers" and blame their life situation for it - either due to lack of resources, their education, or worse, fate. We should always think that failing would mean a strategy or a skill isn't working at your advantage that it's either you enhance it or you innovate to make it more efficient and work for you.
2. You stop learning. When you fail, you feel that it must be the end of the world. I know that it may be easier said than done, but thinking of failure as a spark of light for us to understand where we lack is enlightening. We can learn a new skill to overcome failure in the future or we can overhaul the business model by updating ourselves by the current trends in our industry that is already working and getting a lot of cash flow.
3. You get stuck in the past. It’s inevitable that when we experience failure - we get depressed - for a long time. We end up getting sick and our energy levels are at their lowest. To overcome this, let’s apply the 24-hour rule in cherishing the positives and time to sob for the negatives. According to Don Shula, an NFL coach who holds the most number of career wins mentions that he allows his team to celebrate or sob within 24 hours for them to feel their emotions, then they move on. (Forbes, 2012)
4. Got comfortable with conventional thinking. When we get depressed, we stop thinking. I feel that way too, sometimes. I've learned over the years that if I am committed to staying focused and determined, depression will soon pass. I use failure as a tool for me to think differently in my career. If things aren't working due to lack of market response, then it's ok and move on. It should be the same for you, too. From experience, if we think the same way of our business over and over again in terms of strategies or efforts that aren't working, we will definitely experience the same challenges, thus, it becomes cyclical and becomes an obvious waste of time and money. For me, if a strategy or two does not work, then it has to be changed. And for you to change it, you have to listen from the ground up. Learn and get motivated. Think out of the box!
So you see, whether you have a vast amount of cash to pull off your venture or none at all, everyone has experienced failing – and the good news is, it can be an excellent tool to manage our affairs more efficient so long as we keep our spirits up and stay focused.
Forbes Magazine (2012). Five Ways to Make Peace with Failure. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/susantardanico/2012/09/27/five-ways-to-make-peace-with-failure/ on 1 December 2014