My coaching mentor Christian Simpson tells us why failure is so important to our growth. He encourages us to embrace it.
That's the funny thing about failure - no-one wants it, we dread it and avoid it like the plague BUT....
So does failure really exist? Or are there just a series of painful-but-incredibly valuable learns in our lives?
When you give it some serious thought, we only 'fail' when we don't learn from an experience. Experience teaches us nothing unless we reflect and evaluate it.
When I shared my 'big fat business failure' with you, I was also sharing the most valuable lesson of my entrepreneurial life. As much as it hurt (and it hurt a lot), I run my life and my business very differently today because of the awareness it brought me.
One of the greatest entrepreneurial success strategies to master is to learn how to fail as quickly as possible. It sounds counter-intuitive I know, until you start to look at things from the 'other side of the beach ball'....
Take the entrepreneurial TV show 'Dragon's Den'. Have you ever noticed the reaction of the super-successful panel of entrepreneurs when a business owner discloses that he or she has suffered a monumental business failure in the past?
Some might think it would scare potential investors off, when in fact, quite the opposite is true - it's seen as a positive attribute because the entrepreneur concerned 'failed', got back up and went again. As Mary Pickford observed: 'you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call 'failure' is not the falling down, but the staying down'.
Simon Woodroffe, who used to be one of the 'dragons', is case in point. He became a millionaire in his early 40's through his restaurant chain 'Yo-Sushi'. But prior to that, he had several businesses fail miserably (and at best had created 'lifestyle' businesses to keep his head above water).
I was in a meeting with him a few years ago, and he was asked the question: what was the different between the 39 year old with the bankruptcies and the 42-year old millionaire with a highly successful global brand?
Belief. He said his failures had taught him that he needed belief in himself, and because of failure, at 41 he saw himself very differently to how he did at 39.
Now that's an interesting shift in itself, is it not? Failure tends to be the reason why most people choose NOT to believe in themselves.
But it actually makes perfect sense, because you have to learn how not to be successful at what you're doing, so you can learn how to be successful at what you're doing.
We learned to walk, talk, catch a ball, ride a bike, drive a car and achieve just about everything else that way.
Think back to when you've 'failed' in your life. How did that 'failure' serve you? How did it contribute to a bigger and better you? How did it improve your life? If you can't see the pay-off initially - stay in the question.
What other examples can you think of?
What should you be failing at today in order to succeed at it tomorrow?
I've been failing miserably and consistently for a long time. I don't like it, it frustrates the hell out of me at times, but I've learned to see it for the gift it is.
I'm still failing miserably in other projects, such as marketing my powerful strategies effectively to reach the entrepreneurs who need it AND are ready to receive it.
But as much as it annoys this impetuous fool, I understand that failure's at the heart of the process that gets it right.
We've all got something we should be failing at that we're not - because we're avoiding the pain of it. What is that 'something' for you? And what will you do about it?
Failure is your friend, not your enemy. Have the courage to embrace it, because failure is the seed from which your entrepreneurial dream grows.
If you are like me you often feel alone, stuck, and simply frustrated in your business endeavors. Sometimes the problem also translates over to the family and relationships. When this happens it can really throw us off our game. At times I feel a sense of deep despair over these matters. Often my salvation emerges through small group involvement.
As a minister I discovered the power of intimate small groups. The founder of the Methodist Church John Wesley, made sure his new converts enrolled in a strict accountability group called a SOCIETY. He even required enrollees to present a ticket. If they did not follow appropriate protocol he kicked them out.
Now I'm not here to preach or convert. That's not what I do as a Maxwell team member. I simply offered some early history to the concept of what many now call The Master Mind group. Author Napoleon Hill, promoted the idea in his classic THINK AND GROW RICH. Concerning the Master Mind Hill opines:
The "Master Mind" may be defined as: "Coordination of knowledge and effort, in a spirit of harmony, between two or more people for the attainment of a definite purpose."
The John Maxwell team offers the MMG as a the core of their efforts to add value to others. His groups share struggles, learn to listen intently, and become a confidentail sounding board. Maxwell bases the structure on the philosophy that leaders are made daily and not in a day. He also exclaims, "Teamwork makes the dream work!"
Every Master Mind group I have led or been a part of has been phenomenal in adding value to other leaders. The collective mind stretches us, challenges us to think on a much higher level, and sometimes offers us a painful mirror.
I hope as you consider your growth plans for the coming years that you will sense an urgency of the need to get deeply involved in master mind thinking. Take it from one who has experienced this phenomenon either through Wesleyan influence as a pastor for 34 years, or a member of the Maxwell team, you will not regret it.
Have a great Thanksgiving week.