How could you be choosing to fail?
We’ve all read extensively about how failure is a key part of success in business. This includes mistakes we make and how we respond to failures in our environment. It's generally not black and white - there's not a 'fail' or 'win' scenario and failure can lead to success, just as success can lead to failure.
Have you ever stopped to wonder what kind of role you could play in the failures you experience?
Failure is generally seen as something that happens ‘to you’ as opposed to something that you play a role in. Let’s face it, events external to us shape our experience of the world. What about internal events? The way we think, perceive, respond, behave and approach scenarios?
Some people may call this a load of mumbo jumbo – the reality is that our internal and external experiences are linked, we just need to choose what we have control over and how we want to influence the result. It’s hard to unpack, especially when you have operated in a certain way your entire life and this is all you have known. One thing you can be sure of however is this can positively or negatively impact the growth of your business.
The beauty and the beast of business is the way it forces us to question everything we’ve ever known. It propels our thinking and innovating to a level we’ve never had to operate from before. It is almost guaranteed to expose all the parts of ourselves that we had carefully boxed and shelved, complete with pretty bow. This is because we are suddenly in a place we’ve never been before… Especially when we’re starting out in business for the first time. What the specific parts of us are will depend on the person... Some will be our strengths in business and others will be opportunities for growth.
Regardless of where you are right now, rest assured you absolutely have control over your failures, even when the catalyst for them is external to you. This doesn't always mean we have control over events that happen, it means finding the parts we do have control over. Sometimes this requires having some tough conversations with ourselves or facing uncomfortable realities about how we contribute to the very result we’re trying to prevent. If you want to fail, that’s perfectly okay. It’s important to take responsibility for and recognise your power of choice.
Here are some examples of things we tell ourselves when we play a role in our own failure:
1. “I don’t have time for that.” Is it true you don’t have time for it or that you’re simply choosing not to make time for it? If you truly don’t have time for something that’s important, how can you find or make the time? If it’s truly outside your realm of expertise or ability, how can you ensure it happens or gets done? What do you have time for? If the way you are currently spending your time isn’t delivering the results you need, how else can you utilise time? Simply rejecting an idea on face value is contributing to your own failure.
2. “I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work.” Awesome – now let’s talk about what didn’t work about it – why didn’t it deliver the results you were looking for and what role did you play in that? This is where real change occurs. Just because you tried something, a specific way, at a specific time does not necessarily mean it was wrong or not worthy of your time or consideration. Does it need a complete re-haul or just a tweak? Did you give it a red hot go or just dip your toe in? Dismissing what didn’t work without exploring why it didn’t work or what you learnt from it is contributing to your own failure.
3. “There’s no point even trying.” There is always a point in trying. What’s the worst that can happen? It doesn’t work and then you can learn more about what does work. Refer to point 2. What’s the best thing that can happen if it does work? If you approach problems and setbacks as the end of the road, as opposed to a bit of rough terrain to navigate you are contributing to your own failure. If you are spending all your energy trying to avoid any form of failure, feedback or mistake, you are contributing to your own failure.
4. “I didn’t bother doing it.” Identifying what the problems are that prevent you from growing your business is one thing. Figuring out how they hold you back and impact your business growth is another. Putting learning into practice is the next essential step. Sometimes there are quick solutions we can implement in our business, other times real change takes time, practice and investment. If you are constantly looking for instant ‘get rich quick’ results without being prepared to commit to the necessary change you are contributing to your own failure. Remember, progress is more important than perfection. Even if you can’t achieve all you set out to, what progress can you make today, tomorrow, this week?
5. “The universe is responsible for this.” The universe represents the external and works in marvellous and often mysterious ways. Rest assured that no matter what the universe delivers, you have the power to choose how to turn your biggest business pain points into the fuel that propels your business to a new level. It will take action and investment on your behalf, however. Are you open to the new learning, transformation, growth? Often when we are closed to an alternate way of being and working is where we pigeon-hole ourselves into failure.
6. "We're already successful." You may already be successful, however it's important not to become too comfortable with your success. As quickly as success can come, it can disappear too. We've all heard about organisations who have seemingly dissolved into the abyss because they failed to innovate. Destination 'made it' is a myth - business is hard at any stage and the risk of failure is still real no matter where you are.
Sometimes overcoming the internal scripts and behaviours that prevent us from evolving into our potential can be difficult on our own. It can be daunting, painful, overwhelming at times. The first step is awareness. The second step is making a choice. The good news is, with the right support and resources you can overcome it –if you want to.
If this is an obstacle that is preventing you from growing a sustainable and successful business, please feel free to get in touch so we can discuss how you can play more of a role in your success.