Business, Career, Life

Learn To Embrace Failure To Succeed

Looks like I just dropped the F-Bomb. Not the one you might be thinking but rather “Failure”.

Fear of failure is paralyzing to most of us in some way. Fear of failure often keeps us from trying new things and having new experiences. Fear of failure keeps many of us locked into the status quo. Fear can keep you from living the life that you want and deserve.

From 2005 through 2014 I put on an annual entrepreneur success event called the Ohio Growth Summit. While people enjoyed the event and received valuable information that allowed them to build successful businesses each event was pretty stressful to put on. For 10 years I set myself up for failure. I spend time and money on something that may not have worked. I put my reputation at risk. Trust me there are a lot of points along the way that caused me to face the possibility of failing. More than once I just wanted to runaway and hide.

What kept me going was my vision to help others discover their entrepreneurial passion and achieve their dreams of business ownership. I also rethought how I defined success. To do this I came up with a few tips that helped me and should do the same for you.

Four tips to get past the fear of failure and keep moving forward.

  • Define success on your terms ~ The first question I get when I talk to people about the Ohio Growth Summit is how many people attended. If I made that my metric for success I would never had been able to call the Summit a success. True, the number of people attending has never reached my expectation and yes it did hurt however there are still a lot of people there and they were gaining valuable tools for success. That is my metric. It’s not about the people who are not there it is about the people who are there and by that metric the event is a success and helps me push through the fear of failure.
  • Define the outcomes ~ Look at things that didn’t work or turn out like you wanted merely as outcomes showing you ways that work and other ways that don’t work. Think like Thomas Edison. He ran 10,000 experiments that did not work when he was creating the light bulb. He didn’t look at these as failures rather successful results in how “not” to make a light bulb. Look at your results as outcomes, some you wanted and some you didn’t expect. Define your own parameters for success and not be swayed by other peoples negative opinions. This is not to say don’t take advice because you should. Just be sure to take the advice as just that, advice.
  • Free yourself from guilt ~ There will be times when things don’t happen as expected. It is easy to become bogged down in negativity if things start to spin in a direction we didn’t expect. Remove as much emotion as possible and focus on your course of action. Be realistic in evaluating outcomes and courses of action. Look at your vision/mission and ultimate goal to determine how best to get back on track. Wanting to pull the covers over your head and hide won’t make thing better, it will make them worse. Stay in the game and continue to play.
  • Live your life in Beta ~ Look at your life as a work in progress that you are constantly learning from. Experiences you learn from (some good and some bad) are how you grow. Put yourself out there on a limb and don’t be afraid.  If things don’t work out be sure to learn from the experience and you will be better the next time.

Never forget that success isn’t forever and failure is rarely final. The key is how you deal with the failure. Look at it as lessons learned and comeback stronger next time. 

Whatever you do believe in yourself and don’t give up.

Michael Bowers

Michael has worked with entrepreneurs and small business owners for over 25 years. He has a diverse business skill set with experience in banking, private equity, strategic planning, digital media and marketing.

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