By Eugene Gold, relentlesspreneur, mentor and speaker
With today’s society being so competitive, it is no wonder that so many people live with a crippling fear of failure. Among all our fears, I believe that the most destructive one is the fear of failing. I say this because it is what prevents us from attempting new things or pursuing our dreams; instead, it causes us to be content with mediocrity.
This is not our fault per se. It is instilled in us at a young age that failure is a bad thing and should not be tolerated. As young students, getting an “A” is the benchmark. Not getting one raises eyebrows and puts us under pressure and scrutiny. Although there are those who manage to break out of this mindset academically, they likely face fear of failure in other aspects of their lives.
Many people tend to become discouraged or give up altogether if their plans fail because they have been taught to act this way. This is more or less the situation with young entrepreneurs who are operating in today’s competitive startup world. However, I finally understood that what we have been taught is false. Failure is not a bad thing -- on the contrary, failure is a tool we should harness to acquire knowledge, take corrective action and move forward. This is one thing that I believe is a key aspect in elevating a young businessperson -- their ability to learn from failures.
For those reading this article, I want you to know that I am telling you this because I have been in your shoes. I was not born with a silver spoon. I had to work hard, make a lot of sacrifices and, most importantly, fail an unbelievable amount of times to be where I am today. I am certain you could ask any successful entrepreneur out there today, and they will tell you the same.
Despite the many failures and rejections I faced during my career, I am proud to say that I am now the creator of a company that has grown 4400 percent since its inception, been ranked on the Inc. 5000 list and been recognized by Entrepreneur 360 twice. When I am asked what I did differently, my answer is that I failed. With every move and strategy, I hoped to fail. I knew that if I didn’t, I would never learn. I owe my success to my failures.
So, I want to share a few tips about what you can do to make your failure a stepping stone to success.
Get excited about failure.
Turn the wheels and break this vicious cycle where failure makes you miserable. Stop making excuses. Get excited about failure -- there will be no better teacher in your entrepreneurial journey. It will help you narrow down your options toward the right decisions and choices.
The best way to do so is to change your perspective about failure. When you fail, reframe your thinking and consider that there will be one less wrong choice that you will make in the future. Push yourself through it with this mindset and big things will be waiting on the other side.
Acquire knowledge and adapt.
Every time you fail, be sure to take something away from it. Make the necessary adjustments to ensure you do not make the same mistakes again. If anything, use this learning experience to create new ways of doing things. Remember, you will have to open 99 wrong doors before you get to the right one. Your horizon of inventing new methods of doing things will expand with every failure. Pro tip: You can even try to enhance what someone else is doing by looking at their failures.
Never give up. Be relentless. I don’t define failure as not succeeding. True failure is when you no longer have the will or desire to succeed. When you allow failure and rejection to control your life, you have given in to society’s ideology of failure as the end of the line. It isn’t the end, it is only the beginning. What does it mean going forward? Get out of the 9-to-5 mentality, put in the time and make sacrifices to obtain your dreams. There is a price tag to reach success. Ask yourself, what am I willing to give up in order to be successful?
If you do these three things and remain patient, persistent and open to learning from your failures, you will succeed. Perhaps not immediately, but sometime in the future. It is these things that draw the line between long-term success and failure.
Eugene Gold, the relentlesspreneur, mentor and speaker whose companies were listed on INC. 5000 and Entrepreneur360.