Today many businesses are facing the prospect of failure. We hear it every day in the media and see it along every main street in our communities. The new economy will require almost every business owner to adjust their business in some way to prosper. So, what do you do when the possibility of failure confronts you? Here are five ways to deal with failure and use it to your advantage to create new, even bigger success in your life.
Remove the head trash.
One of the greatest tools you have for overcoming failure and achieving success is within you. It is the power of active thought. Controlling what you think and how you think. Your ability to remove negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts that lead to taking the actions you need is a great gift. Your mind is capable of solving any challenge you give it. Your thoughts and your will power reside in your mind. You can program it like a computer to do, think and react however you want it to.
Most people do not use the mind in such an active way and, instead, let their thoughts control them thus creating the head trash that tells them they are failing and keeps them from taking action to change. When you start to feel like failure is possible, you must remove the negative voice from your head and replace it with positive affirmations about what you can and will do to change the situation. That may mean making a major change to your business.
Don’t let negative talk take you down the path of inaction – or worse yet – keep you doing the same things you have been doing and expecting a different result. Just telling yourself that if you work harder then maybe it will get better isn’t a solution. Change your thinking and you can change your situation.
Change your perspective on the relationship of failure to success.
Most people operate from the belief that failure must be avoided at all costs and they must do everything necessary to keep failure as far away as possible. The problem is that if you fear failure you have a very low tolerance for risk. It is hard to be an entrepreneur with a low risk tolerance.
Instead, change your mindset on what failure means and how to use it to leverage your success. Every successful entrepreneur has dealt with failure at some point along their journey. It is just a fact of life. The question is not whether you will some day face failure, but what you will do when it happens. The easy way out is to tell yourself you have failed and quit. The correct response is to embrace the failure, learn from it and keep moving forward.
Visualize it like this:
SUCCESS <- YOU -> FAILURE
This is the traditional model of how people perceive failure. They see themselves in the middle with success on one end and failure on the other. They do everything they can to move toward success and away from failure. Instead, rethink this model to look like this.
YOU -> FAILURE -> SUCCESS
Turn failure into a stepping-stone to success. Face the failure directly and recognize that success is the destination and whatever failure you are currently facing is simply a step to get there. This will change your perspective as well as keep you moving on a productive path.
Re-visit, refine and re-work your objectives.
This is the perfect time to pull out your long-term goals and make sure you have not deviated from the path to get you there. Should you encounter a problem along your way, change your direction, but not your destination. Re-visit the current objectives you are working on and decide if there needs to be some changes made. What’s changed that is causing the troubles you are experiencing?
The economy is certainly an issue that is causing problems for many businesses. What else has changed? Is the competitive landscape different? Has your product changed? What about your target audience – has anything changed in what they need? Ask yourself the tough questions and determine what you need to do differently. Doing the same things you have done before is simply not an option. Something needs to change to overcome the failure. What is it?
Re-work your objectives accordingly. The new economy will force thousands of businesses to change their business model or fail. Take the time to talk to your customers and people in your industry. Decide what you need to change and then do it.
Use courage to build mental toughness.
It may sound easy to remove your negative thinking, to look at success as a stepping-stone and adjust your business plan to meet the new realities. But what will be the fuel that causes all this to happen? Courage! You must be willing to build the courage and the self-confidence that you will need to overcome any obstacles in your path.
Courage requires you to look fear in the eye and take the action you need to anyway. It requires a mental toughness that will be built over time by not giving in to your fears. Ask any cancer or heart attack survivor, or anyone that has faced a certain death and survived. These people will tell you that it required them to do things they never expected. They faced fear and beat it. Typically, these people are then better able to face the daily challenges they face because they understand what mental toughness means. You can do the same thing by taking action even in spite of your fear of failure.
Seek advice and counsel for a new perspective.
I’ve never been able to understand why so many people are afraid to raise their hand and ask for help when they need it. The most successful people I know are the ones that actively seek advice and counsel from others. Anyone who thinks they know everything required to succeed in business and stay successful long term is kidding themselves. It is the very things that we think we know that keep us from learning what we should know.
Too many people feel that asking for support or guidance is a sign of weakness. Nothing can be further from the truth. Asking for advice is a sign of strength. It is a sign that you understand the importance of lifelong learning and a willingness to accept that another person’s perspective can be invaluable.
Seek out a mastermind group. Network with others in your market or industry to build relationships you can call on. Hire a coach or find other like-minded business owners in your market and share ideas and give each other feedback. People will help, but only if you have the courage to ask.
Follow these five steps and you will be better prepared to deal with any failure you may be facing today or in the future. Success is a journey and not a destination. The better prepared you are for the journey the smoother it will be.
To Your Success,
Dennis Kelley founded the D. Kelley Group and is the author of 'Achieving Unlimited Success' and 'The Companion Workbook to Achieving Unlimited Success'. His driving passion is to provide coaching, consulting, and training to businesses and students to help them Achieve Unlimited Success in their lives and careers. For more information visit AchievingUnlimitedSuccess.com.