The looming thought of failure is something that can immobilize us from working towards our goals. Are we really afraid of failure, or just the thoughts and feelings that come along with it? Shifting our mindset about failure can make a world of difference.
Failure can trigger two main fears. The first is worrying about what other people think of us. We might think that we’re not good enough, or that people will judge us for our shortcomings. The thing is, other people’s opinions are completely irrelevant! Our worth and value can never change. We might also be afraid of missing out; with fear this looks like extreme disappointment. Maybe we think that our life experience isn’t how it should be, or that the let down and disappointment of failure is worse than having never tried in the first place. However, disappointment is just an emotion caused by our thoughts. It isn’t fun, but just like any other emotion it comes and it goes.
When we think like this, we’re perceiving failure all wrong. If we shift the way we think about failure, we can change the trajectory of how we move on from it.
Here’s the truth: we can only truly fail when we completely give up. Failure means that you stopped trying. You probably started your journey of entrepreneurship with no previous experience. Trial and error are a part of the journey, and that’s completely okay. When we start something new, it’s unrealistic to believe that we won’t encounter major bumps in the road. Starting a business is no exception!
We hear about small businesses failing all the time, but that only means that they threw in the towel. All you have to do to avoid failure is take the next little step, then the next, and the next, until you arrive at your goal.
Success and failure live in the same neighborhood. If you’re not failing, you’re nowhere near success! We’ve all heard about Thomas Edison’s success story in creating the lightbulb. He tried thousands of ways to create the lightbulb, most times without any luck. When he finally got it right, he had a positive outlook on all the times that didn’t work. Edison said, “I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” From Edison’s story, and success stories like his, we learn that things not going our way is just part of the deal. People that reach their goals have been willing to hang out in the neighborhood of failure.
The thing is, it’s a misconception that the opposite of failure is success. The reality is, the opposite of failure is perseverance. We rarely arrive at a goal and feel that we’ve reached the finish line, instead the threshold for success gets moved further out, and your goals grow.
When things aren’t going well, stop and reevaluate; change some things that aren’t working. Perseverance doesn’t mean sticking with Plan A no matter what, it means being flexible and taking new steps toward progress.
Learn to celebrate your failures! In most cases, they’re happening anyway. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and grow from them!