As I have gotten older, I have learned to view my failures as creative allies which have allowed me to develop into a more effective entrepreneur. In being able to view past mistakes and performance shortfalls as opportunities for growth, I have been able to transmute my failures into pathways to success.
For any aspiring entrepreneur, being able to convert failures into educational opportunities and ultimately lasting behavior changes is the key to longevity and sustainability. It is not enough to burn brightly, we must also be able to sustain our fires, so as not to fade away.
Go With The Flow
No matter how successful you are, there are always going to be moments of struggle, heartache and pain. Life is equally about what you do in these moments as it is about how you celebrate success and affirm your greatness. When you can see the benefit of your mistakes and their ability to propel you forward, you are in a much better place to be able to design innovative solutions.
Alternately, when you are able to take a good hard look at your past performance shortfalls and realistically assess what went wrong or held you back, you will be better prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Sometimes our biggest letdowns are just what we need to light a fire under us and to drive us forward along the path of greatness and the pursuit of glory.
Taking risks will always be a vital element of achieving success as an entrepreneur. Managing the downside and the negative fallout that can occur when our risks end up being costly is perhaps what separates the truly successful entrepreneurs from those who simply aspire to greatness. You can’t always play it safe but you also can’t risk it all without taking a good hard look at the potential positive and negative outcomes of any investment or choice.
Roll With The Punches
In the entrepreneurial world, losing capital is never the way to success. You must do everything you can to build on the resources you have, not squander them. While it may not be as clear or advantageous to you depending on your approach to business, the same can be said of relationships. You should think long and hard before you burn bridges or turn your back on the people that you collaborate with.
You never know where the person you burn could pop up again in your life. It might be easy to think that a bad deal will simply exist in a vacuum but this is never the case. Word gets around and in today’s 24/7 interconnected landscape of business it might happen a lot quicker than you think. Never think that your decisions occur in isolation.
Imagine that you are always being watched, listened to and scrutinized. If you take this approach, it will be far easier for you to defend your decisions and choices because you will know you did the best you could with the information that was available in the moment. Just as your success will always be dependent on the landscape you exist in, the same is true for your mistakes and failures.
Nothing happens by chance. Everything is connected to everything else and you would be wise to think long and hard before you cast blame for your failures on any one else. As an entrepreneur, you are responsible for the outcomes you receive. You create your own luck and you also walk into your own pitfalls. When things don’t go your way, instead of looking for others to blame, think about what you could have done differently and how you could have modified your approach.
Getting burned might happen from time to time. Business deals go sour, relationships can change. At the end of the day however, there are always indicators and signs that these things are going to occur. If your chest is too puffed out to realize, that is truly sad. In the real world, real leaders accept responsibility for leading their teams astray. They know that there was something they could have done, should have done differently.
Lose a Battle, Win the War
Being a true leader means being able to see failure as an opportunity for growth and a catalyst for change. Never stick with the storyline of failure longer than is necessary to learn from it however. Assess what happened, meditate on what can be done differently and move on. Stay mission focused and keep your mind trained on what’s to come and not what lies behind.
You can absolutely still win the war even after suffering a grisly and potentially world altering defeat in battle. The key is being able to learn from what went awry and modify your behavior in response to the new insights you have gained along the way.
There is nothing to fear about failure. Accept that it is going to happen from time to time. Realize that there are going to be mistakes, failures and heartbreak along the way. There is no easy way to the top. It’s not about the things in your way, it’s about what you do to overcome them!