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How to Cope with Business Failures

adrienne freeland Jan 18, 2023

If I had to guess, I'd put money on the fact that you're an overachiever. All of the entrepreneurs I know have big dreams and work very hard. It's an incredible strength to be so passionate, but the downside of putting your all into pursuing your dreams is the potential for painful failures.

Like it or not, failure is a necessary side effect of trying. As a business owner, you will fail more times than you want to admit. Failure is painful and sometimes embarrassing, and it's one of the greatest teachers you'll ever have.

Your big wins will rarely teach you anything. They won't force you to look backward and examine the path you took to get where you are. Usually, they don't cause much introspection at all. Wins don't ask us to refine our processes or rethink our point of view. Wins are joyful, encouraging, and confidence-boosting. Wins earn big high fives, but from our losses, magic is made.

You will fail. I hope that's abundantly clear to you because there's nothing worse than being surprised by failure. And when you do fail, there are some things you can do to ensure that you fail productively.

1. Thicken your skin.
As a deeply feeling person, I hate to pull the "get over it" card, but the truth is, you will fail, it will hurt, and the longer you wallow in it, the worse it will get. If you walk around your life bubble wrapped and hoping to avoid pain, you'll never get where you want to go. Allow the bumps of life to thicken your skin; eventually, they won't hurt quite as much.

2. Stop and analyze.
Once you've hit a major failure, the tendency is to pop up, put a smile on your face, and scramble off to the next thing. It's ok to do that. Just remember that this is an opportunity for growth if you'll take it. Stop, analyze what went wrong, and take note of what you can do differently next time.

3. Refresh and move on.
Now that you've recovered and learned all you can from your losses, it's time to move on. Don't dwell, and don't spend the next few months rehashing the same issues with anyone who will listen. Carry the lessons of your failures, but do what you can to leave the baggage behind.

In 2017 I was fired from a job, and for a long time, I carried around the shame of what that meant about me. Those thoughts still creep up on me to this day. Nancy, the founder of Success Your Way, has had more professional failings than some people will ever have. If we had let those failures hold us back, who knows where we'd be today.

In time you'll grow comfortable with failure. You may not love it, but you'll know how to use it to your benefit. If you're still struggling to cope with failure today, we encourage you to find a mentor or a community of like-minded women who can reflect back to you the goodness and brilliance you bring to the world.

Journaling Prompt:

Take 5 minutes to write a letter to yourself. Thank yourself for working so hard, release yourself from the shame of failure, and encourage yourself on your journey forward.

Don't go on this journey alone

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