There are some subjects that people just don’t want to talk about in life and business, failure is one of them. If we were to look at success and understand that everyone has their own definition of what success looks like so the same would be true for failure. In fact, in different areas of our life success and failure can mean so many different things.

What is the definition of failure?

  • Lack of Success

  • The neglect or omission of expected or required action

  • Setting a goal and not achieving it

Let’s look at failure as two things how we feel and how we behave.

If we feel like we might fail than we are more than likely unwilling to take the action needed to succeed, but what’s the feeling behind the failure.

  • Are you embarrassed if you fail?
  • Do you not trust your business idea?
  • Do you not trust yourself?
  • Are you scared of rejection?
  • Do you think people will judge you?
  • Do you think they will laugh at you?
  • What expectations regarding the timescales have you set?

How do those feelings make you feel? Pause now and grab a piece of paper and ask yourself. Why am I scared of failing?

Once you understand how you feel you can work through this self-limiting belief. Check our blog on some tips to do that if you haven’t read that one yet.

When we feel something, we tend to reflect that feeling in our behaviour. In other words, if we feel we might fail, then our behaviour shows that we are always looking for reasons not to move forward. We become negative in our self-talk and find excuses as to why our business can’t succeed.

We simply do not take the action needed and so most people never act on their dreams.

Are you avoiding Failure?

It’s natural to try and avoid things that could result in us failing, as it can be a painful experience.  I guess the point I am trying to make here is that we attach our self-worth, self-esteem and self-acceptance to failure.

How about if we saw failure as a necessary process for our success. What about if we saw failure as learning

F – First

A – Attempt

I – In

L – Learning

Then we begin to feel different about the failure in fact I’m confident that if I asked you to write a list of things you have achieved after the failing or learning list will be bigger than the one writes down all the things you achieved straight away!

Everything has a journey that is something we must get comfortable with.

We are not born with the fear of failure it’s something we learn as we go through life. Think about a baby learning to walk. They start and then fall, try again and again until they can learn to walk. I’m yet to find an adult who is still crawling around because they feared failing in learning to walk!  I know you giggled at that one! We are designed to keep going.

In every situation you will learn something, you will get clarity of what’s important in the way you operate your business, your product, your customer, how much value you bring etc it’s all part of the learning.

The structure put forth by Atomic Habits author James Clear might be helpful to you in that case. He’s identified three stages of failure:

  1. Failure of vision is when you are not clear about what you want or your personal “why.” When you don’t know what you want out of life. Or if you are not feeling purpose and meaning in your life. Then you might be having a failure of vision.This is where looking inward and focusing on your own well-being can make a difference.
  2. Failure of tactics is when you know what you want but don’t have a clear or effective plan for achieving it.For instance, maybe you’ve failed to complete a project because you only have a general sketch and not a master plan.Even those who are effective at strategic planning in the workplace sometimes struggle. Especially with translating those skills into tactics for personal or leadership development. This is where habit tracking and development can be very effective.
  3. Failure of strategy is when you have a plan and follow it, but still do not achieve your goal. An endless number of factors could be affecting your success. They may be related or unrelated to your plan.Failure of strategy is an ideal moment to employ your design thinking skills and get working on the next iteration.

Keeping in mind that we can’t avoid life’s challenges whether its business or personal and it’s the same with failure sometimes it can happen.

Did you know there are people that have succeed because they failed?

Famous failures

What if these people had let their failure shut them down?”

  1. The greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, was cut from his high school team.
  2. Walt Disney was fired from his job at a newspaper early in his career–they said he lacked imagination.
  3. Steven Spielberg was rejected from film school three times.
  4. John Grisham’s first book, “A Time to Kill”, was rejected twenty-eight times.
  5. Albert Einstein had the label “mentally slow” put on his permanent school record.
  6. Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed.
  7. Oprah Winfrey was fired from an early job as a television news anchor.
  8. Jerry Seinfeld was booed off stage in his first stand-up comedy appearance.
  9. Sir James Dyson suffered through 5,126 failed prototypes before he landed on the first working Dyson vacuum.
  10. Elvis Presley was fired from the Grand Ole Opry and was told to go back to truck driving.
  11. Colonel Harland Sanders of KFC fame was rejected over 1000 times before finding a franchise partner.

Sometimes we must “Feel the Fear and do it anyway”, a great book if you haven’t read it I would recommend this one.

So here are my top tips when faced with the fear of failure.

  1. Accept it might happen
  2. Understand the feeling behind the fear of failure
  3. When it happens write down what you learnt and what you would do different
  4. Don’t take it personal (we all know this one can be tricky)
  5. Be kind to yourself at least you’re moving forward and not making excuses
  6. Its ok to change your goals as you go along our journey gives us clarity.

We live in a society that sometimes portrays that the most important thing is “winning” well I think the most important thing is our attitude.

So have fun failing because it’s quite simple the more you fail, the more you learn and the more you have a chance to achieve your Dreams and Goals.

Published On: January 18th, 2022 / Categories: Content Marketing /

About the Author: Joe James

Joe has been working in the world of online marketing for 15 years, he has a large amount of experience in SEO, social media, paid search and content marketing.