The three F’s I’m talking about are “Fail Fast and have Fun” while doing it. I’ve discussed this before but I think it deserves more air time because it’s so critical to business success, and life success for that matter.
A recent article from Stanford Businessdiscussed how entrepreneurs fail, and fail often, and the more failures they had, the more successes they had as well. There is a direct correlation between the two. The author called it “practice,” but let’s be clear, it’s failure. Why is failure such a bad word? Have we been so conditioned that we always need to be right, to win, to know the answer, that we are not willing to get it wrong once in a while?
The fact of the matter is that without failure, success rarely follows. Take a successful CEO for example who has had nothing but a string of successes and then has a big public failure. What usually happens to him or her? Most likely you will not hear about them because they will fade into the background humiliated by the failure. Entrepreneurs on the other hand, are used to failure. In order to get anything done they know they will not have all the resources they need, (people, money, processes), so they rely on theirresilience to carry them through the next set of rapids. With each failure comes knowledge that it’s not fatal, only a setback AND some learning.
Being afraid to fail will keep you from success. Sometimes we succeed and are worried that it was an accident, and in some cases it was. But more often it’s because of a series of failures and learnings that we have reached success. Being able to weather those storms is where the real success comes from. Look at all the businesses that made it through the recession and are thriving today. Do you think they did it without some skinned knees and hard learned lessons? No. They knew that one failure was not fatal, nor was one success a pattern or entitlement. It’s all part of the entrepreneurial journey that makes it fun. Yes, it’s a roller coaster and it may not be for everyone, but it is one hell of a rush!
I’m reminded of all of this because I am in start-up mode building the Western Division for CEO Global Network and so much of it is coming along so beautifully that I am scratching my head wondering how it could possibly be so easy? And then I remember all the things I learned and failed at over the last 15 years in the same industry. Now is my opportunity to leverage some of those failures. The faster I fail at what was not meant to be, the sooner I’ll find the success, and resilience is something that I’ve had to really develop over the years. So maybe you can call the past “practice,” and in the end it probably doesn’t matter whether it’s that or failure, the point is, learn from it, expect it, and move on to success. It’s right in front of you and that’s fun!
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