Learning to deal with failure is an essential part of being successful in business and indeed in life. Those that are good at it are more likely to try new things and eventually succeed at them. If you’re not prepared to fail, you can’t progress, so most business gurus, scientists, explorers, sports people and anyone who is successful at anything agrees that not winning, getting it wrong, making mistakes and failure, in general, is good. And not just that, businesses that are based on innovation, actively seek out failure as a means of testing new ideas.
But not all failures are equal. Some failures are worse than others, and it’s good to know the difference. If a project fails because you didn’t do your homework, didn’t prepare enough and just ‘winged it’, then that’s not a good failure. Had you done your preparations properly, the outcome might have been different. As with every failure, you can still learn from it, but in this case, the learning is that you need to do your homework, and that’s something that’s already known to be good.
It’s also not good if you fail because you haven’t practised enough. If the success of what you’re aiming to do depends on practising a lot, then you have to put the work in. Anyone who doesn’t, is just lazy, and not a ‘misunderstood genius’.
Or if you lack the skills to complete the task. This happens a lot to employees who are asked to do something they’re not trained for. If that is the case, they are bound to fail, but again, not in a good way. Make sure that you have everything you need to succeed, and if you still fail, it’s a much better learning opportunity than if you just ‘gave it a go’.
But the worst mistakes of all are the ones that you make over and over again. If you don’t learn from your mistakes, don’t evaluate what went wrong and don’t look at ways to do it right in future, then you have no business being in business. Sure, things can go wrong lots of times, but you have to make a change every time you try again.
And with all mistakes, good or bad, there are only three things you need to do: analyse what happened, decide what you are going to do differently next time, and move on. That way your road to success may be littered with false starts, botched operations and abandoned projects, but it will be a road that continues and leads to success eventually.