Failure is uncomfortable and embarrassing. But it is also empowering, if you allow it to be. For one thing, failure helps you empathize with others. This is good not only in personal relationships, but also in business ones. When you empathize with the failures and challenges of others, you are better equipped to enhance their lives with what you have to offer.
Failure also teaches you to ask for help. Whenever I try something and get nowhere, I reach out to friends or business colleagues who are already doing what I want to do. Sometimes I have to pay for their insights, sometimes it's free. Either way, when faced with continually failing or improving my circumstances, asking for help becomes a no-brainer.
Fear of Failure Leads to Irrelevance
Many would-be small business owners have collected mountains of information necessary to successfully own and manage a business. They can tell me everything they need to do to make a go of it. And then they do nothing. Why? Because they are afraid they'll miss something. They are terrified of making a mistake or doing something incorrectly.
Meanwhile, other people are pushing them out of the way.
They are being made irrelevant and they don't even know it.
My Failures. And There Are Lots.
A few years back, I launched a magazine. I drastically underestimated the amount of resources it would take to create, edit, publish and circulate the publication. My goal was to publish quarterly. After three issues published over a two-year period, I admitted defeat. I'd had enough. I had failed. I refunded thousands of dollars to subscribers and sponsors. It was not pretty.
Today, I empathize with people who manage the magazine publication process. What's more, I can help them by sharing how they can avoid some of the mistakes I made. My failure is made even more valuable because I am now equipped to try again if I want to, and do a better job the next time around.
The first time I quit my super-cool paying real corporate job, it was to open an aromatherapy shop. I had a blast tearing through thousands of dollars. I made soap, candles and aromatherapy products all day long, in between long herbal tea sessions with my customers on a cushy couch the landlord let me use for free. I had so much fun that I went broke.
When I went back to my old boss begging to have my old job back (or any job!), the first thing she said to me was, “Oh, I heard your business failed, so that's why you're back?” Fighting back tears, I explained that I did not consider it a failure, but a learning experience. But if she wanted to call it a failure, that was fine with me. She hired me back on the spot. Turns out the company was in a jam for people at that very moment. My failure worked for me and the company. Talk about timing.
I am sharing this with you because I am the real deal. If I can fail and keep on going, you can too. In fact, you'd better. Because when you've done all you can to make it happen, but it's still not happening, possible failure in the face of a try is your only option.
When all else fails, fail. You'll be glad you did.
Question: How have you turned failure into victory?