"Failure is a necessary part of life and if you read the statistics, an often essential part of your eventual path to business success." -- Michelle Glover, Entrepreneur, CEO @TeaTreeReview, Blogger: GirlEnTREEPreneur
"Failure provides an opportunity, an opportunity to learn - if from the past, learn what not to repeat or how to do things better; if in the present, learn how to better adapt to the here and now; and if for the future, anticipate and prepare." -- Erik Steiner, Entrepreneur, Failure Strategist, Director at ADTS, COO at Sonomed Ltd.
Remember reading Dr. Seuss books as a kid and later on learning about his life, and being even more impressed? Many entrepreneurs in particular seem to be fascinated with his life story, myself included. His legendary struggles, failures, successes, and quotes are pored over, analyzed, and extensively written about in the blogosphere. Like other epic stories about Steve Jobs, Oprah, JK Rowling, Thomas Edison, and Walt Disney, just to name a few "famous failures". While all of these admirable people have been seemingly inducted into the Get Up and Try Again & Succeed Hall of Fame that every startup founder is secretly terrified and simultaneously yearning to join, the criteria to become a member varies.
What has remained constant is our collective fear of failure, especially in present-day entrepreneurship. Despite advances in technology, medicine, special education, and global communications, all allowing us to do a physical and/or digital "do-over" as the situation calls for, failure still has a bad connotation. We are raising a generation of scared perfectionists by not teaching children to take risks. By not teaching them to fail.
It's time to reframe failure, and redefine it as the career learning opportunity and petri dish for problem-solving behavior that it really is. It's time to put failure into perspective, and learn how to put it to better use.
Why do we need to learn about failure, especially in entrepreneurship?
2. To help us develop better resiliency and coping skills.
3. To help us become more content, self-actualized, generous, and kind human beings who are genuinely happy for the success of others.
4. To help us develop our empathy and become more relatable to our customers, so that the buyer experience is more authentic.
5. To help us learn to embrace change, seek out challenges, and be more courageous.
As an educator/Autism Specialist turned startup entrepreneur I have learned that perspective is everything, especially when it comes to setbacks and overcoming them. Failure in business happens all the time. Gary O'Neal and MJ Gottlieb are two entrepreneurs and strategists who creatively and visually explain why it happens, and how people get stuck in a "paralysis analysis loop" in this cool video you can see here.
To paraphrase them, failure occurs because of these factors:
1. Poor planning
2. Not differentiating your product/service
3. Picking a niche that's too big due to market saturation, or too small
4. Poor pricing strategies
5. Lack of research re: addressing a "pain point"
6. Lack of execution
Understanding the why of failure is important, but not as much as the how. How one deals with it. How one chooses to act about it. How one chooses to educate others about it, and be a role model for people looking for guidance and advice on how to be a successful entrepreneur. How one chooses to view it.
I listed five reasons why we need to learn more about the anatomy and benefits of failure. I've tried to explain why seeing the proverbial glass as half empty can be a good thing in entrepreneurship. There's a funny photo making the rounds now on social media. It's from savvy marketers working for Capital One Bank and Spark Cards who joke about that famous glass: "While you debated whether the glass is empty or full, I sold it! Cheers, The Entrepreneur."
To be continued....