Room to Fail

November 29, 2009 at 12:29 pm Leave a comment

I’ve had some very interesting discussions over the last few months about failing.

One person, a CEO of a billion dollar company, suggested that maybe our goal shouldn’t be to stop failure, but to make it easy for people to not be afraid of failure and to support people who have failed. Fail often and quickly is the mantra. With engineering, I view this year’s failure as next year’s opportunity to try it again. Failures are not something to be avoided. You want to have them happen as quickly as you can so you can make progress rapidly. Gordon Moore

The Shame in Failure

In our society, there is still shame in failing. Failing is equated with losing, rather than with finding another way. Thomas Edison said he found 10,000 ways not to make a light bulb. If he had thought each was a failure, how could he have continued on to 10,000 more tries? Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently. Henry Ford

What’s the Worst That Can Happen?

The best lesson I learn from failure is that the world doesn’t come to an end when I do. With every failure I gain more courage because I know that if it doesn’t work, the worst that can happen is that I will end up back where I started and, well, I’ve been there before. Happy is the man who can endure the highest and lowest fortune. He who has endured such vicissitudes with equanimity has deprived misfortune of its power. Seneca


I’m Proud of my Failures

They came about because I had the courage to try something. My high school’s motto was “Not to try is to fail.” We all have to decide how we are going to fail.. by not going far enough or by going too far. Sumner Redstone


Failure is a Nebulous Concept

If I run a series of Lunch & Learn sessions over 3 years that eventually peters out. Was that a failure? What if I told you that it established my reputation within the business community as someone who a) knows a lot about business (I better after listening to the 30 or so business experts I invited to speak) b) is willing to give time and effort within the business community and c) cares about the success of others as much as my own.

I can tell you that other projects have come my way because of that reputation. And that Crystal Clear Bookkeeping Ltd. has grown considerably over the years without paid advertising. It doesn’t matter how many times you fail. It doesn’t matter how many times you almost get it right. No one is going to know or care about your failures, and neither should you. All you have to do is learn from them and those around you because… All that matters in business is that you get it right once. Then everyone can tell you how lucky you are.
Mark Cuban


Learn From Failure

If I take the time, I learn from my failures and I make the time because failure is the best lesson. Before success in any man’s life he is sure to meet with much temporary defeat and, perhaps, some failure. When defeat overtakes a man, the easiest and most logical thing to do is to quit. That is exactly what the majority of men do. Napoleon Hill

Fear of Failing is Tied to Skill Level

I am afraid of failing at hiring the right people. I’ve had some real gems and a couple of not-so-gems. I’ve learned every time.

The downside of hiring badly is that it can hurt my business and cost me money. The upside of a good hire is that my business expands and my life is easier.

When I’m stepping into an area of business I don’t know as well, like hiring, recognizing the difference between success and failure – between a gem and a n-s-g – is much harder. Being unsure increases the likelihood of failure and it makes it more difficult to recognize it earlier.

I will try to mitigate it by creating an evaluation sheet that spells out clearly the difference between a g and a n-s-g and use it early and often. In my case, not recognizing when to ask questions, taking too much of my time needlessly and costing more than I can bill are the important indicators. I will evaluate their work weekly and keep in close contact with my clients.


See, I’m learning. Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. Og Mandino

Is failure the opposite of success? Or is it merely a precursor? Does the magnitude of the successful outcome depend on how spectacular the failures were that preceded it? Is success possible without failure? Does success without the stepping-stones of small failures breed a fear of eventual failure? Some people are destroyed by their first failure, while others are destroyed by their first major success. So let’s have successes in small amounts, leading up to being able to be successful. Jose Silva


Failure is Inevitable

Failure is an important aspect of business and it’s an inevitability so embrace it and be proud that you have just learned yet another way not to do what you tried. Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes its built on catastrophe. Sumner Redstone

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The Three Success Factors

I have worked closely with 100’s of business owners and I have seen too many struggle. I have seen what works and what doesn't.

It takes 3 things to succeed:
1. Hard work - and I know you do that already.
2. Knowledge - domain knowledge: you've got that and continue to learn; and business knowledge: this is where everyone focuses and it's easy to find
3. Mindset - This is the killer app. This is what makes or breaks small business owners.

We work on Mindset here at the Business Owners Success Club: how you think about yourself and your business.

When you focus on a business that gives you what you need to live a Good Life and gives others what they need to solve a problem, everything else falls into place and you have a successful business.

Using that as a framework we work on one aspect of business every month. February is "Your Place in Your Community" month.

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