Earlier this week I had the opportunity to attend something called The Fail Fest through the co-working space I’m part of in Indianapolis IN. It was a whole day of listening to now successful entrepreneurs share their stories of failure. There were some epic stories that included millions of dollars in losses at times! But each time these entrepreneurs chose to learn from their mistakes and move forward to even more success in their businesses. Throughout the day we heard around 20 speakers tell their stories.
One of the most inspiring stories I heard was that of Marcia Barnes. She shared about day that her business was supposed to launch and she discovered that her business partner was a drug addict, stole hundreds of thousands of dollars, her car and had crashed it. A few hours later she was sitting on the floor holding her babies after having her son diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. I almost started crying at that moment remembering my own times on the floor crying as my heart was torn over my children’s health problems and a desire to be successful as an artist. She shared how she had to turn to God to get through this extremely challenging time. She had to make a decision to be a better mother, a better person, and to give back to those around her. Today she is a transformed woman and has a transformed and successful business. Her goal in life is for others to see themselves as God sees them and to know that everyone of us has so much potential placed in us by the one who created us. You can find her on facebook.
There were a lot of different types of businesses represented at Fail Fest 2014 from coaching, to traditional businesses, to tech based businesses. After hearing several of the speakers I began to see a pattern with their stories. Afterwards I was more inspired to get focused in what I was doing in my business. I wanted to share them with you in hopes that you might feel inspired to get focused towards your own goals.
1.) Have a bigger vision and goal for your business
Failure can come when you are just focused on the here and now and make short sighted decisions. After you accomplish your smaller goals you can easily lose your direction, motivation and drive. As a result your business will no longer thrive. By having a larger vision and goal for your business smaller successes and failures will not affect your direction and drive because you know where you are going.
2.) Spin your story
Marketers are notorious for exaggerating or spinning statistics in their favor. Do that with your failures. I don’t mean exaggerate by any means but I do mean put a positive spin on your failure. I’ll give you a quick example. This past weekend I did my one woman show Sweatpants & High Heels in NY. It was a great opportunity and I was totally excited about it. However, I forgot some of my lines, and at times became a little distracted by things happening in the room and had to improvise parts of the show. Instead of beating myself up about it I decided to focus on the fact that I was able to stay open and react well to what was happening around me. Afterwards, women shared with me that the show really touched them. To me, that was a success! Not having a perfect show but impacting someone’s life!
3.) Don’t give up
I really don’t think that I can elaborate on this much more. You will have ups and downs, and set backs in your journey. Sometimes you will have to change directions to reach your ultimate goal. Sometimes people won’t understand what you are doing but you can’t give up. I think many times we feel frustrated at failure because we are surprised by it. I’ve begun to adopt the idea that I WILL fail. I will have bad days and I will mess up sometimes. But it’s a freeing thought process really. It takes the pressure off for immediate success. It’s really about staying consistent and focused. The race belongs to the tortoise not the energizer bunny.
4.) Be jealous with your time
One business woman really impacted me as she spoke about how careful she was with her time. She created priorities in her life and with her time in order to be a good mother to her child. She really stressed the importance of spending time with positive, helpful people. This was a common thread among many of the entrepreneurs. They surrounded themselves with like-minded people, mentors and coaches to help them along in their journeys.
5.) Have confidence
This is not necessarily anything that anyone said specifically. It’s an observation that I made among the 20 or so speakers. Many of them said that they didn’t fit in corporate America. Many of them seemed to march to their own beat in life. They admitted to being risk takers and they all believed in their pursuit of being successful business people. Their stories were varied and challenging at times, but they believed that they could make it.
Implementing these 5 themes into your life will help you to stay focused on your goals. Don’t worry if you fail or something doesn’t have the desired outcome. Think of failure as necessary steps towards your goals in life. Failure can help you continue to focus in on your goals, what’s really important to you and teach you new skills towards achieving your dreams.
Do you have anymore tips or lessons that you’ve learned about failure?