Welcome to the Club!

A friend recently lamented to me about the collapse of his first entrepreneurial venture which left him down in debt instead of plush in profit. He was definitely taken aback when I cheerfully responded “Congratulations, welcome to the club!”

I explained that having experienced this initial setback, he had successfully passed through his initiation rites into business.

Many people consider that failure to achieve a desired result after the first attempt, signals the end of the road for their particular goal. However, it’s important for entrepreneurs to understand that disappointments in business are all part of the game. Once you expect and embrace the inevitable letdowns, you will be able to turn them around to your advantage.

Let’s look at some ways in which failures can actually help you to become a better entrepreneur.

“Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.” Roger Von Oech, creativity consultant

To get great results in your business you have to be willing to persevere through the learning period. Success is derived by trial and error – you must keep testing your processes until you find the formula that works.

In fact, some outstanding accomplishments only came into being as a result of unsuccessful attempts to do something else. When asked how he felt about failing so many times in his quest to perfect the light bulb, inventor Thomas Edison replied “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

“Failure doesn’t mean you are a failure… it just means you haven’t succeeded yet.”Robert Schuller, televangelist

Never look at your lack of success in a venture as a personality flaw or a sign that you don’t have what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur. Your potential to accomplish great deeds is still intact as long as you continue to work at it, and don’t give up on your dream.

Psychologist William D. Brown summed it up perfectly when he said, “Failure is an event, never a person.”

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan, basketball star

This quote highlights the tough reality of business success – to be victorious you have to open yourself up to making a lot of mistakes along the way. It really is a numbers game – to get more positive responses to your sales pitch, you have to pass through many people who will tell you ‘no.’

Author Mike Litman puts it this way “the reason why you’re not where you want to go or not where you want to be, is that you haven’t failed enough.”

“Failure is nature’s plan to prepare you for great responsibilities.” Napoleon Hill, personal success author

One of the greatest benefits of experiencing failure is that it helps to build your character. Take what you learned from past disappointments and use it to develop yourself into the person you need to be to succeed in your chosen field.

Give yourself permission to try even if you might fail, as Lloyd Brown declares “The men who try to do something and fail are infinitely better than those who try to do nothing and succeed.”

(c) 2008 Cherryl Hanson Simpson

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