Be a Lifepreneur: Learning to Embrace Failure

The more you fail, the closer you are to your goal.

Entrepreneurship is not about finding success on your first try. Needless to say, nobody likes to fail. There is a stigma attached to failure, especially in Asian cultures, even though failure is part and parcel of an entrepreneur's life.

Nonetheless, as the cliché goes, failure is the mother of success. Here are some tips to help you and your team learn to adopt a fail-and-learn mindset.

1. Learn from your failures

While failing is synonymous with a lack of success, it is those who fail who will learn the most from discerning what works and what doesn't. Take a leaf out of Thomas Edison's book, who once famously said “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”. Embrace failures, for these will teach you to discover what works for your business and capitalise on this.

2. Deal with your emotions

Keep your emotions in check and examine what you are going through, for example anger, fear, sadness. Give yourself some time to respond and react to your failure. Process these feelings thoroughly and proceed to create a plan to make positive changes. For a start, relook into your marketing funnel and introduce ways to bring back your lost prospects.

3. Find out who you can rely on

It's easy to be surrounded by friends when you're successful, but true friends are the ones who stay around despite your failures. Lean on your mentor if you have one, and bring out your notes and data to lay it all out for discussion. If you have investors, be sure to convene meetings to talk over their current and future investments. Accept their feedback with humility, gather these findings and present them as an action plan to move your business forward.

4. Don’t let the fear of failing affect decision making

Fear can result in the avoidance of decision making, leading to lost options. In the process, you may lose confidence in decision making and increase in self-doubt. Instead, commit to facing the consequences of your decisions, be it good or bad. The stakes in businesses are always high in a volatile environment. Learn to break down the big decision into smaller steps, and review the success or failure after completing each milestone.

5. Approach the risk of failure wisely

With every choice in life comes a risk. Apply past experiences that failed to inform your present self and positively impact your future. Step out of your comfort zone and take baby steps that tap into your discomfort and uncertainty, using these as your growth indicators. Carry out small experiments to evaluate the risk of failure. For instance, test market interest in a new product prior to investment via social platforms or crowdfunding. If there is a lack of interest, you can fail quickly at a very low cost.

Entrepreneurship is never easy and you will definitely fail in one way or another. The lesson is to pick yourself up after every fall and find success through a series of failures – the more you fail, the faster you will find success.

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