Why Failing Should Be Your First Goal
Jeff Bezos says, “failure and invention are inseparable twins.”
We’re all taught that failure is bad, and success is good, but what we’re not taught is that failure and success are two sides of the same coin. Failure does not equal catastrophe. That catastrophic notion is nothing more than an emotional manifestation based on our abhorrence of the word itself.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve probably set out to do something that has never been done. You’re inventing, creating, developing. How do you do that? Are you supposed to know what works magically? Is there some secret book that tells everyone how to avoid failure? Nope. By experiencing incremental breakthroughs, we accumulate the confidence to meet roadblocks and pitfalls with a solution-rich toolbox.
Every failure provides a unique learning experience. No one else is going to fail the way you do, and that makes each failure a strategic advantage for you and your team. Every failure is a chance to move forward with new knowledge that will carry you to your ultimate goal. Look at every outcome and gather the information for each effort. Use that to inform the next attempt. Keep building on a series of attempts using creativity, experience, and learn from all outcomes, whether they be successful or not.
Former Chairman of IBM, Thomas Watson said, “You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure, or you can learn from it. So, go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.” Moving forward is not about having all the answers. It’s about finding answers through commitment and perseverance while equally valuing successes along with failures.
This type of determination is how things get created, and the seemingly impossible becomes everyday ordinary; through an endless series of innovations, driven by sheer force of will and creative energy. Greatness is always found on the heels of failure.
In a highly competitive startup environment, it’s critical to be realistic and honest about where you are and how you got there. Be willing to share lessons learned from your successes and failures. Individuals who can do this will move past negative mantras like “Don’t fail” or “Don’t embarrass yourself.” They appreciate the risks and move ahead without all the answers. Successful entrepreneurs will fail, multiple times. The one thing they won’t do is quit.