Success Through Failure

Wayne Campbell: No way !

Garth Algar: Way !

From the movie Wayne’s World


As difficult as it may be to understand, many believe that the way to success is to experience failure.  So, by design, if you have a fear of failure, it is probably not a good idea to become an entrepreneur.  Many inventors and creative types were not concerned with failure.  Thomas Edison basically considered every failure an experiment and to master a technique or process, you had to do it 10,000 times to reach that level of competence.  Trying anything that many times has to be an exercise fraught with failure, so one view is to consider failure as part of the rocky road to success.


But, how does an entrepreneur harness the power of failure and turn it into success?  There are probably five rules to consider in order to accomplish this difficult goal:


1. Be honest about admitting to mistakes (failures).  Sincerity trumps most traits when it comes to dealing with your team, potential investors and customers.  Others want to know you considered alternative approaches and perhaps they all did not work. Somewhat appropriately, it is considered as thinking outside the box in order to get the optimal answer.


2. If at first you do not fail, try, try again.  The old saying “nothing ventured; nothing gained” comes to mind. Trying new approaches and embracing whatever the results of those efforts are become part of the process when you seek success.


3. Understand what went wrong.  You start on this journey knowing something will go wrong, so set up your process so you understand what it is.  Why didn’t prospective customers take to your product?  Why didn’t the product deliver what you expected?  Seek feedback so you understand the “why.”


4. Learn from your mistakes.  The mirror to point #3 is using what you understand went wrong to modify your approach.  You have suffered the pain of loss; learn from it.


5. Maintain your resilience.  A positive attitude that leads you to understand that this is a process and failure is a teacher and not an enemy, will allow you to put your failure in perspective and see it as just one more step in accomplishing your goal.


So yes… “way.”  Failure can be an important part of your road to success.  Learn to embrace it and learn from it.  You, too, can turn lemons into lemonade.


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