Image shared by the ladies of Bijou Candles
Failure is a bit of a dirty word to all of us; and no one likes to admit when they have failed. As I shared earlier this summer in my article on the one thing that helped me #GoBeyond, to me, achieving my own success in life (so far) has often boiled down to having the confidence to confront my own fear of failure.
For any ambitious person or entrepreneur, facing failure (and the fear of it) is a constant battle, and one that we have to deal with on an almost daily basis. Personally, I believe that you can turn any failure, or fear of failure, into a positive thing, which is why I was so attracted to the concept behind Ashley Good’s Fail Forward consulting agency when I was introduced to her (and her business) at the Always #LikeAGirl luncheon.
As part of our #FounderFiles Q&A with Ashley, I asked her to share some of her top tips for how to ‘fail forward’ for fellow entrepreneurs and young professionals. See what she shared below!
Decide what is worth the risk.
What is so important, so interesting, and so fun that even if you fail it’s worth it to you and it’ll be worth it to keep going. Following your passions or focusing on what you really want to achieve sets you up to have the strength and energy to rebound should it not work out as planned at first.
Consider what is stopping you.
Try writing down the thing you’re scared of doing then spend a few minutes listing all the reasons and whatever excuses you can think of for why you’re afraid or haven’t done it yet. Next, think of the most courageous person you know – someone you look up to, the person who doesn’t care what others think and does what they know is right. Imagine for a minute, that person is looking at your list. What would that courageous person say about your reasons and excuses? What would they tell you to do? How would they get you to try the thing you’re scared of doing?
Be realistic about the risk of failure.
(Hint: You’re probably overestimating the likelihood and consequence of failure.) Once you’ve decided to go for it, do all you can to prepare. Sure, you might be terrified of public speaking, or losing the game, or bombing the job you interview for but by practicing and preparing you can at least know you did your best and maximize your chances of being awesome.
Choose a different perspective.
We tend to think that failure shows weakness, makes you flawed or lesser in some way. Choose a different perspective. Failure demonstrates you had the courage to take a risk, challenge yourself, and learn by trying something new.
Your response makes all the difference.
So you failed a test, didn’t make the basketball team, or just did something you regret? Does that mean you drop that class? Never play basketball again? Hide out of shame or embarrassment? Or do you use it as fuel that shows you where you need to focus your energies, how you can improve, or what you could do differently next time? You get to choose how you respond. I like to think of failure not as a lack of success but as a teachable moment.
Your failures do not define you.
Failure is just a type of experience – it is not you. Just because you failed, does not mean you are a failure.