Personally the pain of never trying, never stepping out of my comfort zone is worse than living in my comfort zone and never risking failure. When you fail at least you can adjust, change, reflect, have that experience and keep going. When you never try or step out of your comfort zone it could be an opportunity lost. So many fears hold people back from stepping out and giving things a go. What’s the worst thing that can happen?
When someone says “No” to your idea/design/ product whatever it may be, my book marketing mentor @joshua_clifton_hospitality then says to ask them why and don’t take it personally. When you ask them why you are gaining knowledge you may be able to use to improve your product or pitch. And let’s face it your product isn’t going to suit everyone. On the flipside a representative for a large company said “no” over the phone to stocking my books and so I kept talking and listening to why they were saying no and by the end of the conversation they said “yes” and bought 20 books!
If you’re not failing, you’re not growing and learning. I saw this program where this father would ask his children “What did you fail or do wrong today?” as well as “What did you succeed at or do right today?” Both are equally as important as each other. It’s really not a healthy mindset to go around pretending your successful all the time at everything with no failures. This is creating a false expectation and picture of what success is and can put pressure on others to try and never fail, giving the message that failing shouldn’t be part of a successful life or career. Admitting your failures and talking about can really help others to not give up and to keep going.
I entered the @ausmumpreneur awards knowing that so many amazing women were entering. On the specified day we got the notification to check our inboxes about being finalists and I thought I hadn’t made it as I couldn’t find an email from them. I immediately thought “Well that’s ok, it’s not an end to my business or reputation and there is always next year.” I didn’t go down the mental thought path of; I’m not good enough, they didn’t like me, what did I do wrong, what’s wrong with me? I was then getting messages from other fellow authors who had received finalist emails and so I congratulated them and were truly happy for them. Then, I thought to check my other inboxes and there it was – I was a finalist! It was a good lesson for me and a check on how I think, as years ago I would have definitely gone down the mental path of “I’m a failure” and what an emotional rollercoaster that can be!
Everything in life is an experience and provides opportunities to learn and grow. Failure should never be connected to self-worth. It’s so interesting to read just how many successful people had actually failed before their succeeding and continue to embrace failure as part of their business. You’d be surprised how many huge names ignored the naysayers, had setbacks and career disappointments and actually used their failures as a catalyst into success. Imagine if these people gave up and disagreed that the pain of never trying was worse than failing.
Each failure can open new doors and present new opportunities for learning, so instead of focusing on the failure focus on the information learned from it. Think about your last few failures – what did you learn from them? Did you use the information to adapt and improve? I remember losing the Miss Australia Awards in the Miss Qld section and now I know why, but then I was devastated as I had linked losing to my self-worth as a person. A little while later I realised that put all my efforts into fundraising activities, choosing the right outfit and promoting it, but no effort into public speaking, so when it came to the interviews and being on stage – I failed miserably. So, after the dust had settled, I set about learning how to speak in public and present well in interviews. I went on then to become a short course writer / teacher for TAFE, university lecturer, direct and act in 3 musicals and direct a choir on a weekly basis. I could have completely thought that this area is a waste of time for me to pursue because I was very bad at it – however it was just a skill I needed to learn. Nothing more, nothing less.
More recently, I contacted a major bookstore chain to ask if they would be interested in stocking my books. They replied saying my books were not suited to their style of books they usually stocked. I accepted that (even though I disagreed) and moved on. Then, 6 months later a different door opened for the same bookstore chain to stock my books and they were accepted! The time spent dwelling on failure is just wasted time you could have spent moving on to the next opportunity. The fear of failure grips so many people and stops them from pursuing their goals and dreams. What we really need is a different mindset on failure, teaching our children and ourselves to use failure as a tool for learning, not an embarrassment or an excuse to quit.