Huffpost Small Business

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Derek Handley Headshot

My Good Friend Failure

Posted: Updated:


Failure is sometimes just bad execution. At other times, it's that the idea is too big, or the timing is just wrong. The ability to identify which it is and learn from that can lead to real success in your next adventures, be it a new business you're planning to start or a personal goal you're reaching for.

Take the online betting business I started in 2000, the year before The Hyperfactory was born. We called it 'Feverpitch'. I started it in December and wanted it to be up and running for the start of the Super 12 season.

On paper, it was an entirely ridiculous notion -- something so new that most people didn't really even get it. We started it to break new ground.

By late 2002, barely in time for its second birthday, Feverpitch was dead as a dodo. But it did give me something -- the validation that I really could spot patterns. As a vision, as an idea, it wasn't dumb; the problem with Feverpitch was its timing and execution.

Through this, I learned valuable lessons that I applied to The Hyperfactory, as well as to the design of my own life.

Every failure gives you a new insight about yourself and the world that is far more profound or impactful than the negative consequences of the failure. You just need to look really hard for it.

Almost every fear in life that I know of stems from the fear of failure in some form or another: the fear of failing to win somebody over, to be perceived as intelligent, to cope with a loss or heartbreak, to not come across as boring, foolish or too reckless, prudent, arrogant, ambitious or lazy.

Being afraid of failure is actually one of the most common failures.

If fear of failure prevents you from pursuing your dreams or designing your life or business the way you want it to be, you may never attain your goals and experience the true happiness and success that comes from this.

Failure shouldn't be looked at as something to be ashamed of -- it shows that you're able to try things that aren't easy. While embracing the good in failure is okay, that doesn't mean we should be setting ourselves up to fail.

But at the same time, if you're not pushing hard enough, then you're not really dreaming hard enough, either.

Sometimes life is about doing the wrong thing at the right time, as what you get from that can be far more profound than what you might get from doing the right thing at the right time.

Open yourself up to the possibilities of failure: walk towards your fear, and then fail fast, fail forward -- in the right direction. But never be afraid to fail.

Photo: Musée McCord Museum, Flickr

This article was originally published on