Why True Entrepreneurs View Setbacks As Opportunities

The adage which states that experiencing real change necessitates getting out of your comfort zone isn't some empty cliche.

learn more about Firas Kittaneh

By Firas Kittaneh


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Experiencing success as an entrepreneur is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world. Once you and your team have been directly responsible for building something that provides value to customers and stakeholders alike, you want to stay in that place forever. And that's understandable.

Related: 4 Ways to Rebuild Your Self-Confidence After a Setback

However, anyone who has ever started his or her own company knows that setbacks will inevitably happen. Here's why you shouldn't let those stumbles block your path to getting things back on track for the continued prosperity of your business.

Entrepreneurship is a business of peaks and valleys.

Hopefully you didn't get into entrepreneurship thinking that it was going to be smooth sailing every day for the rest of your life. High points and low points are endemic to the very process of starting a company from scratch and running it.

The business world, in fact, is filled with stories of mega-famous personalities such as Richard Branson and T. Boone Pickens openly discussing the periods in their careers that most others would like to forget. By the very nature of the business world, even the most talented and successful entrepreneurs have periods where they're deep in the valley.

Related: 3 Tips to Transform Setbacks Into Success

The upside of finding yourself in one of these valleys, though, is the knowledge that once you've reached the bottom, you can begin to climb back up again. Many times, the fear of suffering a setback is worse than the consequences that actually accompany it.

Once you've realized this, you can teach yourself that things are going to be better in the future as long as you learn from your mistakes and don't lose sight of who you are.

Setbacks can be incredibly motivating.

The most successful entrepreneurs may not fear failure, but that doesn't mean they like it. Once they've experienced what it feels like to lose something, they pull out all the stops to change their situation and get back to the business at hand. Many of the most talented business leaders are at their most motivated when the chips are down. For these people, setbacks can be a stimulus that spurs them to greatness; they recognize obstacles as opportunities for growth.

When your company loses a big account or a partnership goes south, many experts recommend giving yourself a predetermined period of mourning time, and then getting back to work on moving forward. It's an effective way to honor your feelings surrounding the setback while not letting it drag you down entirely.

Getting out of your comfort zone yields unexpected opportunities.

The time-honored adage which states that experiencing real change necessitates getting out of your comfort zone isn't some empty cliche; scientific research actually backs up the effects of being shaken into an altered state. This intense anxiety drives our brain activity and spurs us to try something new and potentially rewarding.

We've all had periods where we've gotten into a comfortable rut, usually because things have been proceeding on track, and steadily, for a certain period of time. Our default assumption tends to be that it will always be this way; and that's why it often takes a serious setback to remind us that change is always possible, and that we should harness the opportunities that change has provided.

When a setback occurs, immerse yourself in new ideas.

Most entrepreneurs pride themselves on their ability to think creatively and generate exciting ideas. That's usually the reason they decided to start a business venture in the first place, along with the fact that many effective leaders excel at transmitting their excitement about an idea to others.

When the business is humming along smoothly, it's easy for entrepreneurs to get caught up in the daily activities of running the company, leaving them precious little time for the kind of big-tent thinking that they relish. When faced with a stumbling block, entrepreneurs have the opportunity to shake up their routine and inject some life back into the enterprise through their creativity and vision.

Collaborate with your trusted advisors to emerge better than before.

There's no better time to lean on your closest friends, colleagues, and advisors than the one following a difficult period for your company. The people you trust the most will be there for you to help you re-focus your energy, analyze what went wrong and encourage you in your forthcoming endeavors.

Related: How to Rescue Yourself From a Risky Setback

These are the people who will help you to realize that a setback doesn't define you as a person or a business leader, and that through hard work and dedication you are uniquely positioned to help right the ship following times of distress.

Firas Kittaneh

Serial Entrepreneur • CEO at Amerisleep • CEO at OCLU

Firas Kittaneh is a serial entrepreneur and co-founder of amerisleep. Most recently, he launched OCLU to improve how we record our most memorable moments.

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