No one likes to talk about their failures when they tell the story of their business. However, the reality is, failures happen in every business - even the most successful ones. What we need to realize is that failing is an option, and it can be for the best.
Running a business comes with a lot of ups and downs, trial and error situations and failures and successes. Of course, no one likes to fail; but, sometimes in order to progress down the road of success, a few tries are needed. Many entrepreneurs need to understand that not only is it necessary, but failing is an option.
What Does Failure Teach Us?
Failure can bring a lot of things. Perhaps the most important value it teaches is the fact that we are not all successful our first, second or fifth attempt, but that we shouldn't give up. Success takes time and dedication to achieve.
Additionally, failing can teach you what not to do. When a strategy or method that you try doesn't work, you'll know to go a different route next time.
Everyone Experiences Their Own Struggles
If you're struggling, remember that you're not alone. Everyone has their own struggles, even the most famous of celebrities and industry-dominant professionals. In fact, some of the most decorated and successful people experiences tough, career threatening failures.
For example, at the age of 22, Oprah Winfrey was fired from her position as a nightly news anchor for WJZ-TV in Baltimore. The reason for her release? Her boss stated that she was "unfit for TV."
Oprah went on to work during weekday mornings, where she experienced her breakthrough. Seven years later, she moved to Chicago to start her self-titled show "Oprah," which is arguably the most successful daytime talk show of all time.
Oprah now has her own television channel, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and has directed and produced film and TV shows.
Michael Jordan is another example of someone who failed first before experiencing success. Jordan is arguably the best basketball player of all time.
He also succeeded in baseball as well, playing with the Chicago White Sox for a short period of time. Jordan was cut from his basketball team in high school. It may be hard to believe that someone so successful hasn't always been.
Jordan, however, learns from his failures and takes them in stride. He knows that failing is an option, and he welcomes it.
"I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
Learn from Others
Learning from others is a key component to being successful. Observe your competitors, study thought leaders of your industry and other businesses in your community. Ask yourself these questions:
- What seems to be working for them?
- What isn't working so well?
- What differs between other businesses and yours?
- What failures did they experience prior to their success(es)?
- How did they make improvements after their failures?
- How can you improve on or adapt their strategies even more to work for your business?
Asking yourself these questions can better prepare you for the journey you'll take with your business, and the failures and successes you'll experience.
There's More than One Way to Reach Your Goals
6+3=9, but so does 5+4, 7+2, 8+1 and 3+3+3. Just because what seemed like the best way didn't work for you, that doesn't mean another way can't. So, knowing that there's more than one way to get to where you need to be means there's more opportunities to do your best.
Realizing this can open more doors and help to bring you through the trial and error process. Don't be afraid to try out as many methods and strategies as it takes to find the one that works for you. Even after you have found a way that is successful, that doesn't mean you can't keep trying to find and even better way.
If You're Not Failing, You're Not Trying
Failing doesn't mean that your goals cannot or are not being reached, in fact, if you're not failing, you're not trying. Running a business can sometimes mean doing things wrong a few times in order to learn the way that works best for you.
Think of it this way: if you've never failed, there's probably a better or more efficient way to succeed than how you're currently operating.
Nothing is ever 100% perfect and can always be improved. Instead of getting down each time you fail, think of it as being yourself one step closer to the success you're striving for. Remember - failing is an option!