How to overcome failure
How many of you have seen or heard this story before: someone you know sets out to start a project or a business. They seem really enthusiastic about it at first, going on about how much it will help people, be innovative or make money. Your friend gets all of the fancy items associated with their venture: new business cards, fancy letterhead, maybe a new website. And then, you don’t hear from them for a while. After some time, all mention of the endeavour vaporizes. So what happened? The person failed and faded quietly away. Today we are going to look at reasons we fail and what we can do differently.
Reasons we fail and what we can do differently
1. One-thirdly attempt
We’ve all heard of those who half-heartedly try something. Well, there’s another term that I apply for these situations, one-thirdly. These are people who apply less than half, one-third actually, of their energy and effort into a venture. The undertaking doesn’t take off as anticipated because they really didn’t work on it.
Solution: Make the decision to only start projects that have high value and significant meaning to you. Instead of spreading yourself too thinly and floating from one shiny new project to another, reduce the number of things you’re working on and focus in on 1-3 undertakings.
2. Can’t handle the sting
When starting a venture, you’re going to be told “no” a lot, so much so it’ll be ringing in your ears when you go to sleep. In fact, there will be days when you think all you hear is “no”. You’ll be hearing “no” from potential customers, from possible partners, from potential investors, and from friends. When you hear “no” so often, you can feel like a failure and whatever pleasure you got from the undertaking seems to evaporate.
Solution: Build up your self-esteem to be able to handle the rejection and to learn from it. When you embark on a new project, go into it knowing that you’ll be hearing “no” frequently. Be prepared to hear “yes”. When you do hear “no”, follow-up with the question “Why?” That information will be important to you as it will help you hone your strategy.
3. Experiencing things in a vacuum
People learn by doing. They also learn by sharing. When you don’t share your experiences, good and bad, with others you’re denying opportunities for others to contribute their insights. When that happens, you aren’t in a position to learn from their mistakes and efforts. People who do things in a vacuum tend to be afraid of being ridiculed, being embarrassed or failing in front of peers.
Solution: Look for opportunities to engage and exchange experiences as a project encounters problems. You’re strengthening relationships, building trust, and increasing the robustness of your efforts.
Added bonus: when you actively seek out answers to your problems, you’re showing your peers and network just how serious you are about bringing your undertaking to fruition. This will increase the respect of your colleagues and their willingness to support you.
Renée helps business get unstuck. Through business relationship mapping, conflict resolution and leadership development, Renée helps entrepreneurs and businesses understand their ecosystems, identify underutilised resources and opportunities to engage.
Renée works at both ends of the spectrum: from the fun stuff of building excellent teams to dealing with low morale. She helps managers take workplace bullies by the horns, address long standing conflicts, all of the frustrating stuff to harnessing the energy in a conflict to collaborate, innovate, and build better businesses.
Renée is a speaker, trainer, coach and consultant.