Updated: Aug 5, 2022
What do you think when you hear the word failure?
Do you cringe a little? Do you feel dread, or avoidance? Do you get a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach? If you do, it’s an indication that you have a negative mindset around failure. A negative mindset will hold you back far more than any failure ever will. Entrepreneurship is a series of trials and errors. Some things are going to work, and some things will not. Failure is happening in every business and organization. Period. You can’t escape it, so your mindset around it matters. How you think about failure will determine how harmful or useful failure is for your future success. Most people fear failure for two reasons: - They worry about what other people will think. - They don’t want to feel the disappointment associated with failure. Let’s dig into each of these fears. Worrying about what other people might think of us is a waste of energy and attention. There is nothing you can do to affect what goes on in other people’s minds. You have no jurisdiction there. It is their domain, and you don’t even have permissions granted to visit. We all know this, right? But, it’s so easy to go down the road of worrying what others will think of us - so let's examine this a little closer. What’s the worst that you imagine other people might think of you? Who would think this? Get specific. Name names. Your fear that everyone will think ill of you has most likely been whittled down to a list of, maybe three people. What if those three people do think what you imagine? Does what they think have any bearing on your personal value or worth? No! So, it’s not a good enough reason to hold yourself back. Next, let’s look at the fear of failure to avoid disappointment. Disappointment is an emotion. Just an energetic vibration in your body. Explore what disappointment feels like for you. For me, disappointment starts at the top of my chest, with a buildup of energy that gives way and quickly falls into my gut with a whoosh. Then I experience a residual empty, gray feeling in my gut, and my hands feel weak. It is not pleasant, but it’s manageable. The resistance to experiencing the vibration of disappointment is far worse. When you break it down, you find that the fear and resistance you have to feeling disappointment causes much more pain. It’s time to let that fear of disappointment go. It’s definitely not worth holding yourself back for. See - the fear of failure is not just holding you back, it is irrational! You can reframe your mindset around failure to one of positivity. Elon Musk, one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, is a great example of having a positive mindset around failure. He has said, “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” Failure is a sign of innovation! It shows that you are testing new things, applying what you learn from trial and error. Failure is one of your business’s most valuable tools, because it exposes weaknesses that you otherwise wouldn’t see. It's an important indicator of what areas your business needs attention. While I don’t suggest aggressively seeking failure, it isn’t something to fear. A positive mindset around failure looks at failure as something of value - a great guide and educator. Just this simple shift alone will open you up to create more value in your business and take risks that lead to new opportunities. It has been said that success and failure live in the same neighborhood. If you are not failing, you are not close to success. A positive mindset around failure is what your business needs to grow and progress.