You are an entrepreneur (or you definitely want to be one). And like all the other entrepreneurs, you are obsessed with success. Your work is your driving passion, and you probably equate failure with a personal shortcoming.
Let’s face it – nobody wants to fail. But some failure is inevitable — at least it is if you ever hope to succeed.
Here are nine reasons why failure is not the end of the world, and may in fact lead to much greater success especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
Failure Keeps You Humble
Nothing will check your ego quite like admitting defeat. When your business falls apart and you’re left picking up the pieces, it can be hard to rebuild the confidence you had when you first started. This humility prepares you for your eventual success by ensuring that you’re not over-confident. It teaches you to recognize things as they are, and to (eventually) laugh at yourself.
Failure Shows that You’re Willing to Take Risks
“Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time.” –Oprah Winfrey
Being willing to try something new is the backbone of innovation. Successful entrepreneurs thrive because they see a better way to do things, and take the leap. Having a fear of failure is acceptable, but we must not let this paralyze us. So your first great idea didn’t catch on? No big deal. Accept it, and know that next time, you’ll do better.
Failure Grows Your Network
Have you ever been stuck behind a bad car accident? Emergency crews make up part of the delay, but it’s the curious onlookers who are largely responsible. This same principle is active in our business wrecks as well. When we fail, others want to know about it. They want to see how it happened, how you’ve recovered, and if you’re ever going to try again. And guess what? They’ve probably failed, too. Acknowledging your failure shows others that you gave it your all and are willing to share your experience. You may learn the key to success from a friend who failed in an entirely different way, or connect with someone who can benefit from the lessons you’ve learned. Don’t be afraid to admit defeat. You never know who you may help, and how that connection may benefit you in the future!
Failure Teaches You What Not to Do
Your best idea didn’t pan out. You’re upset, worried, and a little embarrassed. What you may not realize now is that you’ve been given the best examples of how not to do things in the future! There is no greater teacher than getting it wrong the first time. Don’t be afraid to try again, and make sure you implement what you have learned. Take time to analyze where things went wrong, and what you can do differently next time.
Failure Saves You Precious Time and Money
Starting your own business is an incredible drain on your resources—mentally, physically, and financially. Accepting an inevitable failure can save you from investing more of your energy on a sinking enterprise. It allows you to shift gears and pool your remaining resources elsewhere.
Failure Gives You a Fresh Start
Remember back before you failed, and you were excited, energized, and motivated to try something new? You now have the opportunity to connect with those feelings again! No longer are you tied to the disappointment of things not working out. You get to start fresh, and with the knowledge of what to look out for.
Failing Allows You to Recognize the Signs
When did you first realize that failure was inevitable? Was it a gut instinct? A bad return? A loss of profit? You’re now ready to begin again, and you’ve been given the ability to recognize when things start to go south. Listen to your instincts, and react quickly if things seem to take a turn for the worst. You may be able to save it this time. If not, be sure to implement #4.
Failure Makes You Appreciate Success
“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” –Leonardo da Vinci
Nothing makes you appreciate something more than having to earn it. Remember when you were a child and desperately wanted a specific toy? Maybe everyone else had it already, or it was the last one at the store. You just had to have it. It had to be yours. And your parents would let you buy it – if you earned the money. How proud were you when you left the store, toy-in-hand? Success works the same way. When we focus our energy and desire on a goal and work hard consistently, it is that much more rewarding in the end. This doesn’t happen without a few failures along the way.
Failure Shows Us that We Are Resilient
So you’ve failed brilliantly. Your hard work didn’t pay off. Your vision didn’t come true. You’re not exactly sure how you’ve gotten here, or where to go next. Take a deep breath, and look around. You’re still breathing. You’re not in imminent danger. The worst is over, and now all that’s left is to wipe the slate clean and begin again. Don’t let this stop you from moving forward. You’ve lived through the worst-case scenario once already, and know what to do differently next time. Failure cannot defeat you unless you let it.
Entrepreneurs can take comfort in knowing that failure is not the end. If we embrace it and learn from it, we can grow from each experience and move on to more successful ventures. Don’t be afraid to admit defeat—to yourself, or others, as it can save you valuable resources, and connect you with people who are in a similar situation. And finally, realize that failure is not going to kill you. It may have set you back, but you can turn it into an asset and move forward with your next brilliant innovation. The world needs people who are willing to push past their fears, and embrace possibility.
Have you ever failed miserably in something that you really wish you hadn’t? Share with us in the comments, and let us know the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
Soham is a freelance writer, blogger and online entrepreneur from Nepal. He helps businesses and online enterprises with content and digital marketing. When he’s not working, he’s probably talking science and spirituality with his friends at some café around the corner in Kathmandu.