January 29, 2013
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As a fellow entrepreneur I challenge you to embrace failure.
Looking back, the one thing that sticks out distinctly from my entrepreneurial studies at the University of Iowa is hearing my professors (and esteemed entrepreneurs themselves) repeat this over and over: “You are going to fail. Then, you are going to fail again. And possibly again.”
At the time, we understood to some degree that this reality check they were imposing on us was not meant to scare or discourage us; and for most, I think it did quite the opposite. We brushed it off, stayed focused on our big picture, used it as motivation … slowly forgetting that this warning had ever occurred.
That is until–you actually do fail.
I am not talking about dealing with a disgruntled client or missing your sales mark by five percent, I am talking a big, fat, knock you on your butt, failure. Sometimes it is not even a distinct event that causes it. More often than not, it is a slow progression that leads you to wake up one day and say, “Holy cow! I’m not happy. I’m at rock bottom. I’m out of money. I can’t afford groceries. I’m up to my ears in debt. I’ve been spinning my wheels. HOW DID I GET HERE?!”
Facing Failure in Business
As an entrepreneur, facing failure can literally get the best of you. It zaps your energy. It monopolizes your time. It drains your money. It hinders your sparkling personality. It impacts your positivity. It can even affect your dreams for your future. If you let it.
In the process of figuring out “failure,” understanding what went wrong, you start to see the culprit: You have made one small concession after the next, in an attempt to put yourself in a better place. Not realizing that small concessions are exactly what led you to failure. Concessions will get you every time.
When I faced my biggest failure in business, I was harshly reminded of my professors and their warnings, “You’re going to fail.”
It soon dawned on me that they were not trying to warn us about a possibility. They were preparing us for a certainty.
They were making us aware of a definitive moment in our entrepreneurial careers that every successful business owner will face. They wanted to educate and prepare us for the fact that failure comes with the territory of doing business. No ifs, ands and buts. Beyond that, the part they were really trying to impose. but we were too proud to soak in at the time, was that we had two options: to let it get the best of us or to embrace it.
How to Embrace Failure as an Entrepreneur
What does embracing failure mean?
For me, it means a new opportunity to start completely fresh, but in a position better than any I have been in before. I get to start with a blank slate … with the knowledge of what has worked in the past and what has not. What I am good at and what I am not. What I need as an entrepreneur and what is a waste of money. All the things I never had before.
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