From an early age in life we are taught that failure is on the list of things to not do and so we unconsciously avoid it. Through out our school life, we are taught without fail (pun intended!) that failure results in us having to repeat our grade – means we weren’t clever enough and reconfirms our belief to avoid it.
Have you ever paused to consider how this impacts your business ventures? Even to the point of deciding if you are going to start something? Many of us don’t even get to that point due to fear of failure, and if we do start a business, we become obsessed with succeeding at all costs and avoiding failure.
Taking a step back, whilst running a Venture Capital Fund, I have made it a point to include when we review outcomes, a reminder if all our ventures are successful – it simply means we didn’t take enough risk. What was the opportunity cost to us you might wonder? Well, a bigger return – the reality is the safer you play it the more you are certain of a particular range of return, compared to the more risk you take the more potential you have for a huge upside or downside. In Venture Capital, we are supposed to take risks and statistically some of our investments will fail.
Getting back on track to you – so how can this help you with your business today. Well, by incorporating this reminder into your deliverables or into your decision making. At the most basic level, you can simply reflect on your decision and look to see how much of “avoiding failure” is part of the decision. And then ask yourself if you are willing to add a bit more risk. How would your decision then look?
Another key part of this topic is if you do fail at something – well what does that mean? And this is important – it will mean exactly what you want it to. The point isn’t that you should always try again and again – the point is that you should be choosing what to do and not allowing failure to define you. So, the new time you fail, take a pen and paper and do a quick review of the pro’s and con’s of trying again and then decide what you want to do.
May your failures be rewarding