The new business venture you are on has been steadily taking off and you can finally relax a little. Suddenly out of nowhere, you are hit with a massive drop in sales, a supplier relationship gone south, or an onrush of returns and backorders.
Whatever the reason may be--failure has hit.
Panic sets in and you turn to mentors, friends, and colleagues for advice. They all say the same thing-- "It will be okay, you have to fail in order to succeed." The reality is, if you don't know how to fail, you won't succeed. Failing will only lead to success if you fail in a way that allows you to keep getting back up.
There are three ways you can fail, but only one will help you stand on your feet again and lead you to success.
1. The actionless failure.
You have a new marketing angle, business initiative or innovative idea you want to spark. But then something happens--you do nothing. Paralysis hits and you suddenly are unable to move the idea forward.
If you don't try, or at least build the courage to try, you are living defensively. You are waiting for life to give you what you want. And guess what, it isn't going to give it to you. You have failed before you even began.
Cut out the negative self-talk and the list of reasons why your idea is already doomed for failure. Most people are only willing to take action if they feel a certain amount of motivation that is rooted in emotional inspiration. Start to look at success stories that have worked out and find the specific inspiration and guidance that will light the fire beneath your feet to take that leap forward.
2. The unprepared failure.
If you are going to act and do something you have never done before you better take the time upfront to research and learn. When you blindly walk into a situation or business deal without any deep knowledge, your odds for success will decrease drastically.
History does repeat itself. Set your ego aside and realize the mistakes someone made before will happen to you unless you're willing to learn from their lessons.
Save yourself from this failure mode and prepare for what lies ahead of you in the right way. The internet and all the free information it holds is your tool for success and savior from falling privy to this failure mode.
Seek out businesses or professionals that have done what you are looking to do. Gather all of their books, resources, and social media content to understand their path to success and what roadblocks they hit. Learn from the mistakes they made along the way so that you don't fail in a way that damages you.
3. The teaching failure.
Once you are able to build the courage to take action and have prepared yourself correctly, failure will begin to move you forward, not backward in life.
Before I started my e-commerce business I purchased every single course for selling on Amazon. I bought a course for sourcing from China, negotiating, customer service, and quality control. I bought it all and I ruthlessly studied upfront. This allowed me to accelerate my path to success and eliminate making the mistakes that everyone else already had.
Have you ever taken a step back in your business to turn around and jump ten steps forward? That is because you took that step back (that failure) in a way that prepared you for success.
This is the type of failure that you want to find.
You will know this failure because it will teach you something that someone else's failures couldn't teach you. It will show you something that hadn't happened before and give you a lesson that could not have been learned any other way.
I would never wish failure upon anyone. But when it does happen, and it will make sure it falls under the right type of failure. Make each failure drive you forward, not hold you down.