Business failure, resilience and success are closely linked. To ensure your failures are mere stepping stones to success, resilience is key. Building this attribute can be the difference between feeling that you’re adrift in a storm and that you have oars and a map. Fortunately, resilience doesn’t come down to chance; it’s never too late to build yourself up. Accepting that failure happens means you can prepare. Preparing, setting yourself up with a growth mindset and avoiding isolation can help you move through failure more easily. A Business Mentor can support you on your journey.
Failure happens, but that’s not all bad
It’s unrealistic to expect to succeed at everything all the time. In fact, if we never failed, we’d get few opportunities to learn. Failure – at least to some degree – is inevitable; resilience is not. And resilience can decide if your failures are followed by success. Any prominent entrepreneur will tell you the same.
Ariana Huffington, Author and co-founder of The Huffington Post, faced a humiliating failure when she ran as governor for California and got less than 0.55% of the vote. Also, 36 different publishers rejected her book. Elon Musk, now Founder of Tesla (along with many other roles), has nearly lost two of his companies to bankruptcy, has previously been fired on his honeymoon and was even pushed out as CEO of another business he founded.
If things go well, our failures may not affect our overall trajectory. Unfortunately, sometimes things are out of our control, and failures feel massive. Knowing this means we can plan and prepare ourselves to make the most of whatever situations arise.
A growth mindset is something you can start building at any time
Some people flounder when they meet obstacles, but others rally and find solutions. Psychologist Carol Dweck studied what made the difference in these two responses to failure, which led her to coin the term ‘Growth Mindset.’
Dweck says, “For some people, failure is the end of the world—but for others, it’s this exciting new opportunity”. In her TED Talk, she urges people to seek out challenges to give their brain practice at solving problems. Imagine you’re a high jump athlete. You’d never leave the bar at the same level. Instead, you’d lift it slightly higher and work at it until you could get over. Of course, that means you’ll knock it off at first. But eventually, you'll make gains on your personal best and reach new heights.
Support makes it easier to move through failure
Isolation is far too common in business owners, especially during difficult economic times. Research from Business Mentors New Zealand found 80% of surveyed business owners had felt a sense of isolation.
Isolation can take many forms. Entrepreneurs may miss the ease of working alongside peers as just one equal in a team. You may feel isolated by being able to see exciting opportunities but not being able to talk with others at a conceptual level. Covid-19 means many of us are more physically isolated than ever before, and perhaps for the first time. But there are some things you can do to stop yourself feeling so alone.
Change the scenery by working from a fresh location or attending business events. If you’re a sole trader or a startup, try working from co-working spaces. Have meetings at a local café or attending that zoom webinar from somewhere new. Seeing the world continue around you can remind you it’s still turning and waiting for you to be ready.
Make time for other activities. Exercise, hobbies, friends, and family can keep you grounded and fresh when things are tough in business.
A business mentor can be a great sounding board for ideas. A mentor is not a coach or a consultant, so finding a professional to support you in these ways may also help you overcome obstacles.
Put your own oxygen mask on first! If your mental health is suffering, then you’ll be in no position to lead your business through challenges. So don’t hesitate to focus on your wellbeing. It’s not an indulgence; it’s essential. The Mental Health Foundation has some useful resources.