My husband’s favorite quote is “There are no failures, only learning.” In business, it can be difficult to separate ourselves from our failures, let alone see them as a positive thing. The truth is, without each and every failure we come across we wouldn’t learn what is so vital to be successful. In those tough moments when we feel like what we put out into the world failed, there are a lot of emotional responses that can get in the way of progress. Instead, when we realize that our greatest tool is the lesson that each failure provides, an important shift begins to take place.
So, how do you embrace that same shift in your own mindset and business? How do you let go of the disappointment (and often shame) that is associated with failure? Here are a few tips that I’ve found helpful not only in my own experience but also that of other business owners.
Stop taking business failures personally.
If reading that last sentence made you roll your eyes, don’t worry I understand. When we put so much of ourselves into our work, it can feel impossible not to link our self worth with the wins and losses that our business experiences. Start finding small ways to remind yourself that you are more than what you do to make money and your business is lucky to have you, not be you. When something doesn’t pan out or yield the results you had hoped for, that’s not a reflection on who you are as a person, it’s just the nature of business. Some ideas and offers are going to be successful while others fall flat and provide you with a chance to move forward with new knowledge.
Treat each failure as a data source.
Every single negative piece of feedback, failed launch, poor sales metric – all of it can be a resource in building the success you are after. In fact, keeping your failures more black and white and data-based allows for that emotional connection to begin to soften. Let’s look at a promotion that you were offering that nobody took advantage of. Perhaps it was the timing of your marketing or the actual offer itself that wasn’t aligned with what your clientele found valuable. Create a poll for your existing email list or social media story to ask opinions that you can use to help guide which promotion to use next time. Often you may find you want to push a failure behind you, but locating the weak link behind it will help give you the information you need to avoid it next time and implement better processes.
Filter new ideas through your failures.
Again, if you want to grow your business and elevate your brand, you can’t be afraid to get up close and personal with each of your failures. As you come up with ideas for marketing, new products and services, pricing and promotions and other aspects of your job, your failures can help guide you. Sometimes the excitement of a new idea makes us want to just roll right in, but pausing and looking deeper is important. Think about what your success metric looks like for each idea and if it reminds you of things you’ve implemented previously, compare it to any lessons you may have learned. What will you do differently with this idea? What will you make sure not to do? It’s easy to say “failures can be lessons” but the trick is to authentically answer the tough questions and help them guide your decisions and next steps.
Hustle & Heart Challenge
This month, while you’re working towards your goals for 2023, take a moment and give yourself permission to review the last six months in your business and what “failures” you had. Don’t let them get the best of you, but instead see the door for opportunity open with each one. What did these experiences and lessons teach you? What are a few intentional things you’re going to take action on because of these?