As an entrepreneur, you're bound to experience failure at some point, whether it's in your personal life or in your business. Failure can be a tough pill to swallow, but it's important to know how to deal with it. In this blog post, we'll explore what to do when things don't go as planned, and how to pick yourself back up and move forward.
I, Cornelia van Kranenburg, former environmentalist earth scientist and personal growth enthusiast, shared my story of failure on the "I Have No Clue" podcast (Episode 18). I worked tirelessly for a year to prepare for her neurolinguistic programming (NLP) trainers certification exam, only to be told by the examiner that it wasn't good enough. At that specific moment, for the specific training I gave.
An exam, not reaching your sales targets, someone saying no to your really good product. It all can feel as failure. We all experience failure, in the small terms on a daily basis. and sometimes there is something large. Something that feels like there is nowhere to go from here.
The first step in dealing with failure is to acknowledge it. I was angry, sad and everything in between. I cried, and if this happens to you: it's okay to feel disappointed, angry, or upset. Give yourself time to process your emotions, and don't be too hard on yourself. Failure is a part of life, and it's important to remember that it doesn't define you. What defines you is how you respond to failure. In the end that is the only thing you can control ;)
Introvert or extravert, seek support. For the first time ever, I sought a lot of contact with other people to talk about it. To reflect on it. And that was not my go-to way to deal with grief as an introvert. I used to do this completely alone. Talk to friends, family, or a mentor about your experience. They can offer valuable insights and advice, and can help you see the situation from a different perspective. Don't be afraid to ask for help, and remember that you're not alone in your experience. When you have a sales page that doesn't convert, you ask people to read it right? To find out why it doesn't convert.
The next step is to reflect on what went wrong. Try to identify the reasons for your failure, and think about what you could have done differently. This is an opportunity to learn and grow, and to improve your skills and knowledge for the next time around. For my exam, I learned I could have gotten it right away if the plan I for the examinations was a little bit less amibitious. And that's something I tend to do often: have a super ambitious goal AND an ambitious plan.
There is nothing wrong with an ambitious goal. I love those goals because they really inspire you. The plan towards the goal should almost be a given. If you want to make 10 sales and your conversion rate is 10% you know you need to make sure to reach out to 100 people. The steps should be so that you know you'll get there when you do all of those. I took a risk by giving that specific training during my certification and it didn't pay off in the way I thought it would.
Finally, use your failure as an opportunity to pivot. Sometimes, failure can be a sign that you're on the wrong path. To me that is what happened. I really wanted to get this papers whereas I didn't start out that way, I didn't need them for my business. I just needed the skills I learned during the year of training. Take the failure as an opportunity to reassess your goals and your approach. Think about what you really want to achieve, and what steps you can take to get there. Failure can be a catalyst for change, and can lead to new and better opportunities.
Failure is an inevitable part of life and entrepreneurship. It's important to acknowledge your feelings, reflect on what went wrong, stay positive, seek support, and use the experience as an opportunity to learn. Remember that failure is not the end, it's just a detour on the path to success. Keep moving forward, and don't give up on your dreams.
Do you have a friend who is struggling to deal with failure? Send them this article to help him/her out!