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A New Year's Resolution For Entrepreneurs: Don't Fear Failure- Embrace It We need to be candid about failure, share our stories, and learn from each other.

By Alex Malouf

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


I want to share something with you- a secret. Are you by yourself; is there no one with you?

That's good. Come a little closer, so that I can whisper it to you.

I was an entrepreneur. And I failed. Twice.

It's a dirty secret, I know, but it's one that I'm comfortable with. Why, you may ask? For two simple reasons. Firstly, I fulfilled my dreams of setting up a publishing house, and then a communications agency in Saudi Arabia. And I also learned how and how not to set up a business. Failure is life's greatest teacher, and you're more likely to remember why something didn't work. And I'll tell you another secret: I'm not the only one. Everyone fails in life. At one point or another, you're going to suffer through failure. The problem is that we associate failure with defeat. And, as a result, we don't want to talk about failure.

Related: The Truth About Entrepreneurship

In the Middle East, failure is a taboo, a subject that is never broached. We're not allowed to fail, and we're most certainly not supposed to talk about our failures. But failure is natural, particularly when it comes to entrepreneurship- after all, the failure rate for Silicon Valley startups is upwards of 90%.

Failure allowed me to reevaluate my priorities, it shaped what I wanted (and didn't want) to do, it forced me to revise my approach to my career and my businesses, and re-envision my goals. Failure teaches an inner strength, and the ability to look at the world with a different perspective.

I would never take my failures back. I would never unwind the clock and undo my failures. I've learned so much; I've grown thanks to these mistakes. And I understand more now about business, work, people and myself.

We need to be candid about failure, share our stories, and learn from each other. Let's be proud of what we've tried to do, and how we've grown through our failures as well as successes. Let's embrace failure, so at the very least, we can share our experiences with others. No more dirty little secrets please, at least not among entrepreneurs.

Related: An Opportunity For Growth: Defining Failure In The Context Of Entrepreneurship

Riyadh-based Alex Malouf is a marketing communications executive and expert who has spent the last two decades in the Middle East. A journalist by training, and with a cultural mix that is both European and Arabic, Alex’s expertise spans communications and media, public relations, and marketing. He has led communications for multinationals in the digital, electric mobility, energy, sustainability, technology, and fast-moving consumer goods space, while also advising  ministers and entities in the Gulf's government sector.  

An entrepreneur in his own right (along with his wife, Alex founded the first business-to-business magazines in Saudi Arabia), Alex’s experience includes corporate communications, media relations and outreach, content development, crisis/ reputation management, and digital/social media. When he’s not putting pen to paper, Alex can be found advocating for the region’s media and public relations industry as the best way to tell the region's story and build national brands. 

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