I understand what it looks like to fail in business. When I started my business, thinking clients would come easily, I was making less than $100 per month–yep, less than $100 every single month for my first few months in business. I invested thousands of dollars into my life coaching certification and countless hours learning about what it took to start a coaching business. During that time, there were days when I questioned my decision to start this business. I felt like I had failed.
And I made a decision, that this would not be my reality. I let my failure spark a shift to my success. I started to immerse myself into at least 10 – 15 hours a week of sales and marketing webinars, teleclasses, and videos, taking ample time to read articles and other content about how to grow my business. And here I am, almost 3 years later, working 20 – 25 hours a week with a respectable salary as a leadership and business coach. I had to make a shift in my mindset, strategy, and vision to be successful, and here are some nuggets about how you might be able to do the same when failure strikes in the midst of your goals.
1) Shift your mindset
One of the toughest challenges our generation faces is their perspective that many people live perfect lives and have had a super easy street when it comes to professional or career success. A shift in mindset when it comes to failure might be you embracing that it’s a natural part of the process of life to fail and push past failure into success territory. The truth is, the most successful people have mastered the art of bouncing back from failure. How do you do that? There are many ways, but to name two:
- Affirmations: Daily, declare out loud who you are, what you are committed to, and who you will be in the future. Research shows this impacts our mind’s approach to both opportunities and obstacles.
- Work on your “bounce back” strategy: Start to be more conscious of how long you stay “down” after you’re hit with a challenging situation or thought. You may even want to document somewhere how long you tend to stay down, so that you can see if you might be giving hours or even days away to worry. Replace those thoughts with ideas, strategies, and affirmations. Can you imagine if you had a creative idea or strategy for every hour you wasted worrying or feeling frustrated about a situation….There would be endless possibilities!
2) Shift your strategy
When I found that I was making under $100 a month working over 40 hours a week as a new entrepreneur, with sometimes 5 amazing consultations per day in a row on average, I knew something was wrong, so I immediately went about working to fix it! I now make a pretty good living as a leadership and business coach after using that failure to spark a shift in my strategy. I could have placed my failures at the forefront and spent my days being down on myself, doing nothing at all, or figuring out how I was going to transition from something that “just didn’t work.” Instead, I got to work. I took advantage of a number of resources including some I mentioned in a previous blog post. If you’re an entrepreneur, maybe you need to rethink what business model works best for your business, maybe you’re targeting the wrong market, or maybe it’s that your pricing strategy needs to be re-evaluated. When in the midst of failure,
- Take ample time to stop and reflect on what is happening,
- Determine what very specific obstacles are preventing you from being successful,
- Identify solutions for each one of those obstacles, and
- Research resources that will allow you to address each obstacle.
An essential part of my own shift included hiring an amazing business coach that could both help me analyze my challenges, determine the best resources for me, and provide me with the accountability I needed to aggressively move forward, but do what works for you. The most important thing is to take action to shift your strategy versus continuing to move forward in a way that is detrimental to you and your endeavors.
3) Shift your vision
Some people might have you believe that shifting your long-term vision makes you a failure. It doesn’t make you a failure; it makes you strategic. In fact, it makes you a creative. It shows your ability to be flexible, and one of my greatest mentors told me that flexibility is a true mark of great leadership. Are you sticking to your current path because you’re afraid of what others might think if you change direction? Are you maintaining your current focus because you feel that you’ve already put too much time and too many resources into what you’re currently doing? Think about this: What could you be missing out on by not shifting into a new vision? What are the possibilities of what could happen if you’re able to successfully shift into your new vision? And, even if you fail at your new vision, would you be more proud that you tried or more disappointed that you failed at it? A number of renowned business leaders had a different vision for their businesses that they failed in before they were successful. Walt Disney was fired as an editor and decided to shift into a new vision that now earns $30 billion annually. After Bill Gates invested thousands of dollars into Traf-O-Data, a company he started in the 1970’s, his company brought in $20,000 – $30,000 a year. In May of 1979, his company sent letters to its clients saying that they were suspending business. Many would call this a failure, but it was an important part of his journey to now becoming the most wealthy person in the world with a net worth of $77.5 billion. My belief is that in order to effectively shift your vision, you should:
- Truly put your 100 percent into your current endeavor before shifting if you feel as if what you’re doing now is what you are meant to be doing.
- Do massive research, gain expertise, and conduct your own primary research by talking to a number of stakeholders at varying levels of business (including talking to your prospective target market) about your new vision before you shift.
- Take some time to be sure that you’re ready to make the shift.
- Place your 100 percent into your new vision if you decide to shift.
I hope these tips and strategies help you to realize the importance of allowing your failure to spark your shift into success! Again, the most successful people have learned how to strategically make the shift and do that over and over again when necessary throughout their lives. And we all can and should do the same.
As always, if you found this post helpful, please share it with colleagues, friends, and family who you think might benefit from it.
Also, feel free to comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts you have on this post!