One thing that stops people from becoming entrepreneurs and keeps entrepreneurs awake at night is the fear of failure. Who wants to lose money and potentially so much more? Who likes to admit defeat, swallow the humility pill and say “I failed”? It certainly doesn’t make you feel good. But wait, failure is actually a good thing, so long as you accept it for what it is and learn from it.
The truth is only a small percentage of entrepreneurs achieve success early on and many successful entrepreneur have a string of failed businesses behind them. Most of these successful entrepreneurs proudly admit their failures because they accepted them for what they were – lessons to be learnt and then incorporated these lessons in their next ventures.
“A wise entrepreneur knows how to capitalise on their failures to bring them a step closer to success.”
Change your mindset
Stop seeing failure as a bad thing. Your fear will keep you from taking the necessary risks in order to achieve your business goals. I am not saying be reckless but rather allow yourself to take calculated risks that will soften your landing if you fall. Think about it, you have actually failed countless times in your life and have learnt and overcome each and every event. From learning to walk, learning to ride a bike or car, you failed first – learnt from it – tried again and then succeeded.
It is all about your mindset. What do you choose to believe about failure? Will you decide “I’m a failure and I’ll never succeed” and give up, or will you reflect on the experience, see what you can learn from it and then choose to try again and eventually become a success? Even if you can’t think of anything positive about the experience at first, remember you have succeeded in one way – that is at least you gave it your best shot!
The one day rule
When we initially experience failure it impacts us emotionally. It is kind of hard to be happy and positive when failure has just knocked on your door. You do need to acknowledge these emotions in order to move on. I have a One Day Rule. This rule allows me a single day, the day of the event, to wallow a little bit and lick my wounds. It is the day that I switch off, do something that I enjoy and like the stereotypical female, eat ice-cream. But when I go to bed I consciously press my mental reset button so that I can start the next day refreshed and with a positive attitude. The new day is a new start, a time to explore new opportunities to move forward.
As I said it is ok to wallow for a day, you need it to help you deal with your emotional state and recharge. It is not ok to continue to wallow for a long period of time as this will prevent you from moving on. It will keep you in a negative state of mind and greatly reduce your chances of achieving success. It’s like the old saying “if you fall off a horse, get back on straight away otherwise you never will.”
Adopt your lessons learnt
Every failure teaches us something, whether it is about ourselves or business, or both. Don’t hide your head in the sand or refuse to reflect on the experience (objectively). That would be a complete waste of a learning opportunity. Once you have addressed the emotional side of your failure, think about and analyse the situation so that you gain something from it.
There are 4 key questions to ask yourself:
1 – What can I learn from this experience about myself?
2 – What can I learn from this experience about business?
3- What could I have done differently to change the outcome?
4 – How can I adopt these lessons in order to achieve success in the future?
The bottom line is don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from chasing your dreams. Failure is good for you. By failing you will learn important lessons that will help you obtain success in the future.