How I Changed My Relationship with Failure
Updated: Apr 27, 2020
When you're starting your business, you find out three things pretty fast...
There's a lot you don't know
There's no such thing as overnight success
And, curveballs happen - frequently
If you're going to be an entrepreneur, you have to have thick skin and an elastic heart.
(Yes, that's right, I just quoted Sia.)
But no seriously, it's true!
Because as soon as we muster up enough courage to try something new, or if we step out on faith and if it doesn’t work out exactly as expected, that pesky little voice in our head will start going off, “Told you so, wacko! Who do you think you are?”
And defeat starts to set in.
Oh trust me, I know you’ve been through this. We all have.
But as loud as your inner critic may be, you don’t have to cave to it. You just have to work on your bounce-back game.
Enter today's lesson...
I could fill an entire series of Encyclopedia Britannica's with the life lessons I’ve had to grow through.
(For anyone who’s too young to know what an Encyclopedia is, it’s basically the internet in A to Z book format. Think Google, before we had Google.)
Today it feels important that I share the life-changing lesson I learned about failure. Because I know when things don't work out and when challenges keep piling up, it's easy to give up.
But c'mon, you'll get nowhere exciting living like that.
Do yourself a favor: accept that failure as a part of life (it is what it is) and work on changing how it affects you.
I'm going to get a little personal in this video so check it out:
FAILURE, YOU WON'T HAVE A HOLD ON ME!
MAKE A CHOICE
Every single moment of every single day you get to choose how you show up in life.
When you hit a bump in the road, or something unexpected slows down your progress, if you make a mistake, or when your perfect plans fall through - take a beat and ask yourself, "How am I going to respond to this?"
Give yourself space to reflect:
Am I going to be bitter? Dragging around complaining about it over and over?
Or am I going to let this make me better?
A lot of times when I hit a wall I'm think to myself:
Am I going to throw in the towel and give up? Is this it?
Or am I going to learn from this experience, figure out next steps, and get up?
Listen, I know you may be thinking, “Easier said than done, Karen.”
But it really is that simple. And, it takes the same amount of energy. One option will keep you where you are and the other response will move you closer to your goals.
You're a smart cookie, you know which is which.
And in case you're still struggling with accepting failure, I know you'll appreciate this perspective...
FIRST FAILURE, THEN SUCCESS
I'll never forget this quote I heard, it'll stay with me forever:
You can't access success without first going through failure.
That couldn't be more true.
I mean think about it, what if everyone quit after the first time they failed? Or the hundredth time they failed?
Think about the successful people you admire, inventions that were created, new technology that's been developed, and so on. We wouldn't have much to show if failure stopped everyone in their tracks.
Failure is laced with negative connotations when it's actually the path to success.
Here are a few things I wish I knew when I started my business:
It'll take longer than you think
You'll pivot a dozen times so just start
Enjoy the process or you won't make it
You'll eventually figure it all out so chill!
Business will grow at the rate that YOU grow
Achievements don't determine your worth
Alright, let me wrap this up
I hope this article helps you realize how normal failure is in life.
I know the heaviness and frustration will still come up, but don't let it stay for too long. When it feels like you're hitting a wall, I encourage you to take a moment and do these two things:
Believe in yourself and your abilities
Give yourself space to grow
Don't let failure keep you from building your dream. You're stronger than you know.