Oh, I hate to fail. I mean, let’s be honest for a second. People say all of the time that failures teach us what we need to grow through to be stronger. Failure teaches us to be better. And while I appreciate the political correctness of those statements, for just a second I want to tell you that I hate to fail. But I have had to get over it. Because here is what I had to realize, business failures are different than school failures.
Yes, I can count on one hand how many times I got a C on my report card or a C in college. I just didn’t get bad grades. Not because my parents had unachievable expectations of me, but because they always said that I needed to try my best and they would know based on the grade if I had done that. I mean, if you step back and think about it, grades in school were indicative of how well you could listen, learn, and memorize facts. Tests in school were simply a regurgitation of the lessons the teacher taught you. Therefore in school, to fail meant you simply didn’t apply yourself, listen, learn in the way they were teaching the material, or put forth the effort you needed to in order to excel. (I’m speaking in generalities here.)
Failure in school meant you were told the answer but you chose not to remember it or learn it. So you failed.
Failure in business is very different. When we fail in business it’s because we don’t know the answer. We are working diligently to figure out what the answer is because we are facing new situations with no clear pathway. For example, you are trying to determine which of 5 different offerings resonates most with your customer. You have no idea which one they want, so you offer all 5 and you wait. There will be one distinct winner and essentially 4 failed offers. But in reality, the failure of the 4 offers is exactly what you needed. You needed a clear winner in that situation to figure out which path to follow in order to grow your business.
So you see, business failures are different than school failures because business failures help us find the unknown answer while school failures were us simply not applying the answer we were already taught. If you see it this way, understand that business failures truly are opportunities to grow, succeed, overcome, and get better at your craft. You just simply need to wrap your brain around the fact that the two failures aren’t equal and therefore you can’t be frustrated with business failures.
Instead of saying, I hate to fail, say I love to fail in business because I get the answers I need to run faster. It’s all about having that understanding and perspective!