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How to become friends with failure

So many people fear making a mistake.

They’re scared of looking stupid in front of people they respect or messing up in front of the boss. problem success invest

But everyone makes mistakes.

In one of her blog posts, entrepreneur Lisa Messenger admitted she makes mistakes all the time.

“I’ve stuffed up. I still stuff up. I will probably stuff up tomorrow,” she wrote in the Smart Company post.

So why is Messenger still so successful?

Because she learns from her mistakes.

She realises that to fail is human, and she doesn’t let that stop her from powering forward.

Here are some facts about failure you should remember so the fear of it doesn’t rule your life.

PERFECTION IS IMPOSSIBLE

It’s a tough one to get your head around, especially as most entrepreneurial types are perfectionists, but the sooner you learn that mistakes are inevitable the happier you will be.

It may seem like you make more mistakes than others, and who knows, maybe right now you’re making a lot of errors because you’re tired, stressed or have a lot on your plate.

But remember: everyone makes mistakes, even the people who seem like they never put a foot wrong.

SUCCESS ISN’T ABOUT SMOOTH SAILING

You may think that success is the natural by-product of a smooth and well-chartered course. 

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But the road less travelled, the detours and accidental turn-offs, are vital.

Sometimes the wrong road can turn out to be the right one.

It can show us an alternative approach to a problem or issue.

It can open up another option we had not thought of yet.

The unintentional bumps in the road are important.

Not just because we learn from them, but because they may change our course for the better.

IT’S HOW YOU HANDLE IT

Here’s another very important thing to remember about failing: it’s not how often you fail, but how you handle it.

It’s tempting, and human nature, to want to blame someone else or an external force for your failure. Resist this urge.

The best way to handle failure is to own up to it.

Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist and don’t blame someone or something else.

Saying that you made a mistake is a character-building exercise and the mark of a mature adult.

THINK OF FAILURE AS ONE PART OF AN EQUATION

Failure is the first step, and the next is the solution. success

Start thinking of all of your mistakes in this way: that they’re part of a two-step process.

If you have staff working for you, you can encourage them to think this way, too.

If it’s just you, flying solo, then you can adopt the solution as part of your inner thinking.

Every mistake is followed by a solution.

It’s so much more powerful than thinking, ‘Oh no, I stuffed up. I’m terrible, I will never succeed’, etc.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK

A lot of the time, people are worried about failing because they place too much emphasis on what other people around them think.

Instead of being guided by their own inner compass, they look to others for approval.

This could be a partner, a colleague or a parent. expert leader

Ask yourself: who are you working for?

Who are you trying to impress?

The answer should be yourself.

If it’s you you’re working for you will be much bolder in your approach and won’t worry about how failure looks.

A helpful way to help you embrace failure and make it your friend is to identify your past mistakes.

How tragic do they appear now?

Probably not very tragic at all.

But I bet you beat yourself up at the time over them.

If you can keep the bigger picture in mind, realise that today’s errors are tomorrow’s opportunities, then those road blocks, detours and wrong turns won’t seem so disastrous after all, but simply part of the journey.



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About

Mark Creedon is Director of Metropole Business Advisory and business coach to some of Australia's leading entrepreneurs - each who call him their "unreasonable friend"
Visit Metropole Business Advisory.


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