Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.
Those are the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson, who first penned the phrase in the mid 1800s. While he may not have intended them to apply to business, experienced entrepreneurs know that there is a great deal of validation in his words.
That's because while starting a business is challenging and frustrating in itself, more so is the pain and heartbreak when you realize it is time to close and let it go. Much like a first love, your first business is something you will pour yourself into, heart and soul, so the idea of it coming to an end is enough to break anyone emotionally.
Heartbreak, however, either in love or in business, can be a good thing.
If you are an entrepreneur who is facing the agonizing realization that your business is failing, or you are holding back from starting a business for fear of failure, then here are a few reasons you should face the potential heartbreak with more confidence.
1. You will survive.
Most would-be entrepreneurs are terrified of failure, envisioning a failed business as an albatross they carry for life. The truth is, regardless of how grand your business may fail, debts can be negotiated, employees will find new jobs and broken business relationships can be healed with honest transparency.
Remember, if you don’t let it kill you, heartbreak will make you a better person.
2. You will be better prepared.
Like love, time heals the emotional wounds of a business failure. As you rebound, you will be emboldened with new insights, knowledge and experience. You will know better what it is you seek, what is important to you, and more important, what you should avoid the next time you try.
Take on every heartbreak and failure as just another life lesson that prepares you for the next.
Related: 4 Ways to Overcome Self-Doubt
3. You will rebound faster.
You will almost certainly have more than one heartbreak in your life, so too will you have more than one business failure. Like heartbreak, experience is what helps entrepreneurs rebound from and persevere through each subsequent failure, and each time the recovery gets easier and faster.
Finding new passion and enthusiasm gets easier when you better understand just how resilient you are.
4. You will be more valuable.
Experience trumps inexperience. Yes, there are benefits to working with someone who has not yet been tainted by institutional standards and paradigms, but my experience has demonstrated that the most valuable partners are those with whom I can relate. For instance, I find I have a deep connection with someone who has also been stricken with panic at the agonizing reality that you must close an office and terminate 20 employees.
Only experience teaches you how to cope with that.
5. You will appreciate more.
Like your first love, your first business will be difficult to enjoy. Fraught with uncertainty and insecurity, your perseverance will be fueled by infatuation and optimism instead of fact and reality. It is not until you have the experience to be more selective about what you want (and don’t want) that you will ultimately be able to appreciate the business for what it is.
So if you are holding back from pursuing your entrepreneurial ambitions, then my advice is to fear not the potential (and inevitable) heartbreak of failure, and instead approach it as an inevitable reality that will make you a better entrepreneur in the long run.
Related: How I Overcome the Fear of Failure