Failure. That 7 letters word. A word that scares. A word that makes people don’t chase their dreams, goals and objectives. That represents a place where anybody wants to be in. Or do they?
I’m this kind of “try-error” person, that needs to “learn by doing” and move in an agile and fast way, more than in a heavy, theoretical-detailed approach. And I apply it in all the corners of my life: at home, with friends, at work, with family…
Perhaps there are some people that would think that I’m a successful person. I don’t think so, but because my high level expectations. However, I’ve to recognize that I’m a lucky person. For me, failure is just a step closer to success (this word probably worths other post just for itself). But because I’ve learnt how to fail.
I was yesterday talking about failure with a friend of mine, the CEO of high-tech company. We both think that this put us closer to the goal. But, can everybody fail? Is it just such easy? Fail – learn – succeed? Dealing with failure is very difficult in several senses, and I’m going to describe how I do it. Let’s take a look.
Dealing with feelings: frustration from failure
One of the most taboo topics in entrepreneurship (and in society) is mental health. It is something that it’s rarely trained at schools, in our childhood, and that has a key relevance in how we manage our lives, projects and relationships. And it’s one of the reasons why people don’t take risks: we’re not prepared to fail.
Nobody likes to be frustrated. I’ve seen people losing everything because not being able to manage frustration. But what if frustration would just be a temporary state that leads to self-knowledge and new learnings? To do that, I use to follow some rules:
- I don’t take never more risks that those you will be able to handle: Just think, if things goes wrong, what is the worse scenario I will face? (i.e. I know that if I fail running a new venture, the worse thing that could happen is coming back to my parents).
- Avoid stick too much to plans, goals, projects…: I love what I do. And I put passion, effort and bet hard on it. But I’m very critic, and I let it go once it leaves to work. Often, I plan continuously, set and adapt my goals, and if the project doesn’t work, I leave it go away.
- Analyze: Observe, measure, be critic and learn. What happened? Why? How can avoid this in the future? Why? These are the questions that I make myself when everything fails.
Of course, you can have your mourning and get anger, but following these steps, these feelings haven’t last a lot for me. And they have increased my self-confidence, self-motivation, and definitely, my strong mental health.
Takeaways from failure
Analyzing your failure will give you the opportunity to extract some key takeaways that can be used in your future adventures. I’m going to share some of mines, and where I learnt them:
- Resilience: I learnt I was resilient when I jumped to the entrepreneurship world. In a year and a half, I tried, at least, to start 5 different projects. And I failed in all of them, for different reasons. The thing is that I have a clear picture of me in the future, so I’m always working in new things, and using the learns I extracted from my previous failures.
- You can go fast by your own, but you won’t arrive so far: When I started my last project, I had a lot of interesting feedback, several, things were going fast… But suddenly, all this velocity slowed down, because I wasn’t able to cover all the competencies needed for the project. I added some people of the team, but the project failed because we weren’t able to cover all the competencies needed to run it.
- Give, give, give: One of the most welcoming feelings a person can have is giving. This is why I’m helping ProductSchool in creating an awesome community in Madrid. This is why I’m writing this blog (you can see my previous entries It’s all about image and Have an idea? Learn how to validate it). This is why I try to help everybody who asks me for it. And it’s something that I learnt when I enrolled as a volunteer at Cibervoluntarios. Because giving makes us more human.
I have had a lot more failures in my life, but I have had a lot of learns from them as well. It is the opportunity that failure brings you.
Failing is part of our life. Failure is difficult to handle, because it has a lot of implications. But if you find the right tools, like I have, failure just will become an opportunity. And more important, will make you don’t get crazy if you someday succeed.
I hope this will help someone out there. In the meanwhile, what are your tactics to dealing with failure?