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Learning to Embrace Failure

August 15, 2011
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/228785

A young entrepreneur's ability to embrace failure is paramount to his or her long-term success in business. Great triumph is often the product of a series of small, incremental mistakes. When processed effectively, failure will guide you toward your most ambitious goals and aspirations. Improperly perceived, however, these same mistakes will paralyze the entrepreneurial spirit.

Every day, the fear of failure stalls new businesses, ceases innovation, halts production, and extinguishes ideas well before they take actionable form. To succeed as an entrepreneur, one must accept failure as a byproduct of long-term success. In the pursuit of goals, those who hesitate because of the risk of failure will never rise above their own self-limiting beliefs. We must learn from our failures, move forward, and stay focused on our path toward those "big, audacious goals."

Don't Listen to the Doubters

First, accept that not all people have the mindset and mentality of an entrepreneur. Many will look at your uncharted path as too "risky," or too far from the safety of shore. When you fail (and you will), they will be the first to chime in with "I told you so." Ignore them! They have chosen a different path. They have made the unfortunate mistake of believing that giving up is the same thing as "being realistic." To reach great success, you must fail. Fail enough times, and you will succeed. Every failure is a step toward success, and success can only be stifled by giving up. Do not settle; do not quit. The opportunity for great success far outweighs the failure you will experience along the way.

You're in Great Company!

Bill Gates' vision of personal computing has completely revolutionized our modern culture and economy. He needs no introduction. Seldom mentioned, though, are the incremental 'failures' that lead toward the formation of Microsoft -- starting with dropping out of college in the 1970's and launching a failed technology product.

When we think about The Disney Company, smiling cartoon characters like Mickey Mouse, Goofy, and Donald Duck fill our imagination. Our focus drifts toward Walter Disney's great achievements as a producer, director, screenwriter, and animator. Less talked about are the stories of the old garage he began his first cartoon production in; a production company that quickly went bankrupt.

John Grisham's first novel was rejected by a combination of twenty-eight different publishers and agents. Most people would have given up professional writing and gone back to the proverbial "nine-to-five." He went on writing, though  ¢â‚¬" writing his way toward becoming one of the most famous and well known novelists of the 21st century.

As these examples clearly illustrate, failure can and should simply be a learning experience that guides us toward greater levels of success. Are you embracing failure? If not, now may be the time to ask why.