Failure is part of life. But it’s nothing to be afraid of. In fact, learning to lead with intention and harness your mistakes as opportunities can often drive your business forward.
Whether you are launching a new company, or looking to scale your existing business, stepping out of your comfort zone often causes leaders to fear failure. If you are currently experiencing failure at any level, follow these three steps to not only learn from your failure, but to avoid making the same mistakes twice:
Step #1: Own it.
In business, especially in startups, no one is immune to failure. We’re all human, after all. Failure is part of the journey. Entrepreneurs who accept that fact handle failure better. They are accountable for their actions. They are prepared to turn over rocks to uncover where their mistakes happened. They say it out loud. They address problems with their colleagues so errors can be revisited, scenarios can be assessed, decisions can be made more efficiently, and they can prevent similar issues from happening in the future. When you make your next mistake, take immediate responsibility. Skip being hard on yourself. Instead, identify your failure and own it.
Step #2: Learn from it.
Use failure as a learning opportunity and turn your lessons into advantages. Think back to obstacles you’ve overcome over the years. Though these failures may have felt crushing in the moment, you came out wiser for it, right? Truth be told, it happens for a reason, so next time, just let the dust settle and then assess the situation. Identify what caused you to stumble. Perhaps it was an assumption made, or an integral step that was forgotten. Pinpoint the error, acknowledge it and then brainstorm a solution, not only for the short term, but how to avoid the same issue altogether in the future. When you familiarize yourself with a mistake, it becomes an opportunity to overcome something similar in the future. Next time, you’ll fail faster and fix things faster, too.
Step #3: Act on it.
Sometimes entrepreneurs over-correct. But don’t let a stumbling block throw you off course and suck you into an overarching redesign of your company strategy. When failure happens, be flexible and adjust your sails accordingly. Once you have brainstormed potential solutions, remember you have the power to make the necessary changes. Consider failure as feedback, like a blinking red light to alert you that something needs to be fixed. Pay attention, act fast to fix it, and be thankful for the lessons you’ll carry with you moving forward.
So much in life, and business, is how you deal with the problems that inevitably come up. Be intentional about your failures moving forward. Own your failures, learn from them and use the knowledge gained to your advantage. In other words, for every fall, make sure you focus more on getting back up and standing taller and stronger than ever.