The Truth On Business Failure: I Learned.

In the last article I admitted quitting three business ventures. It was a long time ago and I got over it and yet I am still learning from it.

I remember reading that Edison failed to make the electric light bulb over 10,000 times before he got one to work. Babe Ruth struck out hundreds of times. Failure then, is part of success. It is part of the learning experience. Ellie Drake says, "that which does not kill you will only make you stronger." I am stronger, smarter and more focused. I continue to learn from experience--old and new. That is the value of doing.

There was a time when I used to beat myself up for failing or quitting. It made me feel bad and that tainted my new experiences. The only way a failure can truly be a failure is if one learns nothing from the experience. I learned. From that, I would now call them successes.

What did I learn? Here are some of the things that I have learned and continue to learn from some of those "failures."
  • Beginnings are pure excitement. It is partially the unknown--the never having done it before. It is learning. I love beginning things.
  • Taking an idea and making it a reality. It is creative. It is fun. It was just a thought, then it was real. What a concept!
  • Figuring things out. Those little challenges are fun and interesting. What if? How can we? Where could it come from? When would be a good time to start?
  • Experimentation. Experimenting on what doesn't work in order to find out what does. What does or doesn't work may surprise you.
  • Philosophy. You get to put your philosophy on everything. You get to test it and see how it works in the real world of commerce.
  • You get to see where your comfort zone is and see how much you can expand it. This I know for sure: It must expand.
  • Learning to follow through. The idea is one thing and the doing is another. Learning to follow through is critical.
  • Be your own best counsel. Gather information and look at everything you can look at, but when it comes down to the decision, trust yourself.
  • Accept responsibility for everything that you are involved in. Accept responsibility for activity, effort, decisions, results. The opposite of that is blaming others, circumstances and things and that will not do at all.
  • Build on success. When you find what works, do more of it. See how much you can make it work. See how big it can get. See how profitable it can be.
  • Have a plan. A written plan is cool, but a plan in your head is okay. Having a plan is the critical part.
  • Adjust the plan. As you learn from experimentation, success, failures, adjust the plan accordingly. Keep building the plan.
  • Have a grand vision. A vision of something larger than yourself. I didn't really have that in the first three, but I sure have it now. This was a valuable lesson!
  • Keep focused on what you want to achieve rather than what is happening now. The daily cares of life and business can eat away at your goals if you let them. Deal with the cares as a matter of course, not a goal. Focus on the goal, not the cares. The cares will always be there, so don't give them any more energy than they deserve. You get what you focus on.
  • If you have a partner or partners, communicate regularly. If something is not working right, let's deal with it quickly and move on.
  • Celebrate. I used to say to celebrate success. Now I say to celebrate! Give thanks for everything that comes. You'll be amazed at the difference this one thing makes! It's easy once you get the hang of it.
  • Flexibility. To be able to modify as needed as quickly as possible is a key ingredient. Changes will need to be made. It is a given.
  • Get over it. If something doesn't go the way you want and you are being upset by it: get over it. There are plenty more where that came from.
  • Get on with it. Thinking about something for too long is a problem. Give it thought, but you might want to set a deadline on the decision so that you are encouraged to make that decision and get on with it.
  • Be as unique as you can be. Why should someone come to your business? Why should they come back again? Carve out your own niche. Set yourself apart.
  • Keep moving, growing (personally and the business) and working. There is much to do every day. Keep at it. It is the daily tasks and accomplishments that make the whole business more successful.
  • Have fun. Have as much fun as you can. Work can be fun or it can be work. When it is fun, much more gets done.
  • Passion. The more you develop a passion for what you do, the better it can be. Passion fuels dreams.

So with a list like this, can I think failure? Only if failure equals success. It is the things that I learned from the previous business ventures that is strengthening the current ones. All experiences are good. They are better when we learn from them.

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