A New Leadership Look at Failure

If you are a woman in leadership, it might be time to take a new look at what you might have always perceived as failure. What if you could learn why you should look forward to failure, and how it can help you ultimately get where you want to go? For instance, when you read this statement, what’s your reaction? “There is no such thing as failure.”  Do you think it’s true? Maybe it makes sense to others but not to you. 

But what if you learned that you have the power to decide whether or not something is indeed, a “failure” or not, changing your whole idea about failure?  In fact, some highly successful people have already learned to look at the word failure in a very different way than others.  Let’s talk about why.

Why Others Watch a Leader Handle Failure 

Doing something that seems to be a failure shows the fact that you are only human. People watch how a woman of stature handles a mistake and how she recovers from it. Watching isn’t to be cruel, but it gives others hope that they too could recover from a mistake. 

Mistake making takes on a whole new form when a person sees how a leader faces and overcomes a problem. Everyone can have a failure or a setback but not everyone knows what to do about it. Making a successful comeback after a failure can increase your reputation, build confidence and show you as a person of integrity. The comeback doesn’t even have to be huge or earth shaking. It just has to happen. 

When “Failure” is Feedback 

What if starting today, the idea of failure took a radical change in your vocabulary? What if failure really meant a form of success? How could you acknowledge your success, even as you speak the word “failure”? Well, you can point out these ideas:  

  • That everything you learned in the process of getting to where you are now is not going to get thrown out — you learned good things to keep along with the stuff that didn’t work.
  •  That simply being able to recognize everything hasn’t gone according to plan, or achieved the desired outcome (i.e. “failed”), is in itself a positive outcome
  • That even if the specific method you used this time around wasn’t the right one for this situation, you can surely use bits and pieces and parts from what you learned in another project or idea.
  • That you can eliminate and not repeat the same behaviors the next time a similar situation arises. Failing to achieve a goal in one way just increases your creative understanding of what works for a situation, project, or idea or what doesn’t.
  • That you’ll know to do things differently in the future. You will create in a new way to approach a problem and your creating will be quicker and more confident as a result of knowing what not to do? 
  • That the experience has enabled you to grow in some way. Adversities, set backs, failures, hard times — all of these things only make you a stronger and more confident person. 

Failure can simply be a great way to get you to pause in the midst of your process, and get some critical information to indicate that you may need to change directions, try something new, continue your learning, or shift your focus. 

Imagine what would happen if you didn’t get that feedback, and continued endlessly along the wrong path, towards the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach? It not a pretty thought. Therefore, make time to rethink the idea of failure. Failure can really be seen as positive feedback, providing information that gets you back on the right track! Without feedback you would surely be lost. The key is to quickly identify what isn’t working so you can change direction, try something new, or shift your focus. 

How would thinking of failure as a welcome invitation to understanding a better way to pursue you life dream change your thinking? Here are some tips: 

  • Always have a clear idea of where you want to go and continue to re-evaluate it as you move forward
  • Identify specific milestones or markers along the way, to let you know you’re on the right track and celebrate each success
  • If something doesn’t appear to be working, or working fast enough, don’t hesitate to try something new
  • Continually learn from others. These can be people you work with, experts in your field, mentors, or leaders that have travelled a similar road.

And always remember: 

You don’t have to stay where you are in life. If things are not working in the direction you are headed, stop and go another way. If you tried something one way, make a change in your activity until you find out what really works. Life is a series of starts and stops. Just think of how much experience you have in different areas of life when you try something and learn new things from that experience.

Keep trying new things; never plan to stop learning, trying, experimenting, and creating. This gives a women in leadership the confidence needed to succeed. Consider the idea of rethinking failure as a way to reach success and strengthen your leadership skills instead of a way to set you back. You will take more risks, try more challenges and increase your overall successes.

Ideas to Action for Start-Up Business Success

 Do you believe you can be a successful woman in a start up business? Woman spend millions of dollars each year reading about business, trying to learn new “systems”, taking workshops or even earning academic degrees to understand how to start a business.  All of this is done in order to be successful in an independent business. 

But not everyone is successful in starting a business, including the brightest women of all.  Overall, three out of five small businesses fail before their second year in business. This is a large figure and gives the chances of failure a better percentage of happening than the chances for success. You can help your chances of success by following a few simple ideas for start up business success: 

1. Put what you learn into practice. 

All of the information in the world will do you no good if you don’t apply it to real world situations of building your business. Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of information in front of you. Take one or two ideas at a time and focus on developing those into actionable steps. Don’t move on until you apply those concepts. When the new idea is comfortable, get ready to find another new idea. Of course, this means that you have to put the ideas into priority order so that it makes sense to apply these steps in order. 

2. Seek new ideas 

Even though you have a lot of information already, don’t stop looking for new ideas that keep you on the cutting edge of your industry. Subscribe to business oriented newsletters or ezines online. You can find these by the dozens by searching on words like, “business start-up, entrepreneurs, how to start a business.” With each newsletter, find at least one idea to put into action as quickly as possible. This is a way to take a positive step to making your business dream come true. If you get a newsletter that fails to provide at least one new idea for you within a few months, unsubscribe to that newsletter and find another instead. 

3. Drop ideas that don’t work 

Every suggestion you find may not be appropriate for you and your business. Be smart about selecting the right opportunities for you. For example, a suggestion might be to send direct mail postcards to your customers. But if your customers only like to receive information by email, you will only waste time and money using a direct mail techniques and end up frustrated. That means you have to really understand your business and customers before putting ideas into practice. Not every idea will work for you. Knowing your true target market and what your goals are will help you eliminate good things that are not good for you. 

These three ideas are just the tip of the iceberg of ideas of what you can do to have a successful start up business. The main idea is that business start up success is absolutely possible for you. Take time to put good ideas into practice. Learn from the successes of others and start with one or two ideas at a time. You could soon find yourself heading straight towards business start up success and be the business woman others come to admire.

Women in Leadership, The Lessons are In Your Story

When doing a study on women’s leadership, I found it necessary to conduct extensive interviews with women in leadership positions. To do this, a research survey was designed to ask focused questions on what gives a woman her unique leadership ability.  Still, when the women leaders were asked to answer these questions about their leadership skills, many of them couldn’t find a way to identify exactly what it was that gave her the ability to be a leader.  

Being a leader was so entrenched in these women’s very being that separating out the activities of leadership didn’t seem possible.  They just did what came naturally without thinking about it.  So it was necessary to take a different approach. Instead of asking the women to name the skills that made them a leader, they were asked to simply talk about their story as a leader. Having the chance to talk about their leadership stories was the key to finding the most important lessons from women leaders.  

The lessons were in the story.   

As the women simply talked about their leadership experiences, exciting stories began to emerge. 

One woman told the story of how she had decided to lead the fight for quality education in her community. With a group of other parents, she went to the City Hall to talk to the Councilperson about doing something to bring better educational opportunities to the schools in their community. When the group arrived at City Hall, everyone turned to her to be their spokesperson. That was her moment of becoming a leader.  

Another professional woman related how the leaders in her company needed some innovative ideas to help market a new line of educational products to an adult population. She knew how to work with this target group because she had taught adult education for years in a past job. So even though she was not in a leadership position with the company she decided to offer her suggestions.  As a result, her ideas created strategies that brought in a significant increase in sales for the company. This led to her being promoted to a leadership position in a new division in the company. 

Describing Behaviors is Not Always Easy 

Sometimes it is not easy to describe certain behaviors, such as leadership. But when you hear the stories behind the situation or event, you can find the lessons of the behaviors in that story. 

Finding and sharing lessons in stories can provide a way to mentor others, particularly to mentor other women, something that doesn’t happen enough. Within the words of a story, you can share the steps you taken, the insights gained, and the wisdom you use to put steps into action. 

Women can be great storytellers. Have you thought about how you can use your storytelling ability to share your leadership lessons, or other lessons with others? Think of how effective you could be when you learn how to find the lessons in your story and use them to mentor others.

Push Through the Fear to Succeed

Everyone has certain fears.  To say you don’t is denying being human.  A fear that most people deal with from the biggest celebrity to the woman next door is the fear of failure.  No one wants to fail, no matter how small the potential failure might be. Fear of failure can keep you up at night and keep you from trying new things. A fear of failure is the major reason most women never reach their full potential. 

One  huge difference between women who achieve the life they want to live and other women is that they learn to face their fears and control them.  They refuse to let the fear of failure control them or hold them back. Decide to stop letting the fear of failure steal the goodness you deserve and desire in life.  Here are a few keys to get fear under control. 

1. Keep the Big Picture in View. Stop looking at the little picture in a situation. Instead, step back and look at the big picture.  In the whole scheme of things, in the whole of your life, how big is the situation that you really fear? Are you trying to get a job and afraid you won’t?  What’s the worse that can happen?  Are you trying a new business and afraid it won’t work out?  What can you do to be sure that it will work out instead?  Stepping back to take a bigger look at the situation takes away a lot of fear because you realize exactly how the situation fits into a bigger picture. 

2. Take a Positive Outlook. One reason fear can set in and stifle your actions is because you start off thinking negative.  If all you think about is how awful something is going to be, of course you’re going to have fear.  In fact, that means you start to create the foundation for the failure to happen.  Remember, what you concentrate on you draw to you. If you really think you are going to fail, the likelihood is that you will.  As bad as it sounds, you usually get the desire of your heart in life. 

You might not think that you are drawing failure to yourself but thinking only negative is doing just that.  Adjust your thinking.  Start thinking about how wonderful it will be when you have a positive outcome instead. Say a prayer, recite positive affirmations and do positive visualizations of the best outcome possible. 

3. Stop and Breathe.  Does fear seem to overtake you sometimes?  Does it make you feel like you can’t even breathe?  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few moments throughout the day when needed to step back, take a few deep breathes and stop feeling overwhelmed by the fear.  Often, fears are built up in the mind more than the actual reality of them. 

That’s not to negate that sometimes you really might have some terrible things to fear. That’s a whole different story.  But the majority of time, things are not as bad as you  make them out to be.  When you start to feel the panic of fear taking control of you and your decisions or reactions, step back, recognize the fear, become conscious of it, and assess it. Define the reason you’re afraid, analyze it and decide what you’re going to do about it. Take control of the emotion instead of letting the emotion take control of you.

4. What’s the Real Issue?  Fear is often about something that is hidden from your immediate thoughts.  In other words, you might think you’re afraid of one thing when it’s really another.  For example, say you get invited to a networking event that would be great to grow your business.  At first, it sounds great, but then you start to get afraid. You might think it’s because you don’t want to meet new people or that you won’t have anything appropriate to wear.

Instead of stopping to think about what you’re afraid of you allow an unconscious fear to keep you from something you really need to.   Stop to analyze what your feelings.  Perhaps you know that people at that networking event will have to make a short introduction of themselves and their business.  The idea of speaking in front of others is what you really fear. When you analyze a situation, take control of it.  Plan your presentation well ahead of time.  Practice it until you feel comfortable. Instead of letting an unconscious fear keep you back, figure out what you’re afraid of and do something about the fear.

5. Prepare Yourself Better. Fear of failure is often based on not feeling prepared to meet new challenges that confront you either in an expected or unexpected way. When you don’t feel equipped to meet challenges you become afraid to get caught unprepared.  But you will always feel that way if you run from challenges instead of meeting them head on. 

The only thing to do is get prepared.  If necessary, take courses to improve your knowledge in a certain area. Get coaching or mentoring from someone with a lot of experience in the areas you want to learn. Go to museums, take trips and meet new people. Listen to opinions, read books, and watch movies in another language. Your mind is yours to grow so take control of what you know and increase your knowledge to overcome fear of failing in new areas.

When it comes to fear, you have two choices – control your fear or let it control you. Accept that feeling fear is simply a part of being human. The choice is yours to learn how to control your fears so you can succeed anyway.

Increase Business with Audio Internet Marketing

Adding audio to your websites and blog is a great way to increase the content your offer visitors. Audio provides a new communication strategy that broadens your product offerings and marketing tools and motivates purchases. Here are seven top ways audio can help to motivate purchases as an internet marketing tool. 

Audio in Internet Marketing 

1. Audio is one of the best ways to let people you may never meet in person get to know your personality. This is one of your biggest assets as the owner of a small business and audio makes it extremely easy to communicate your personality to your audience and target market group.  By listening to you, people can come to like you as a person.  Psychology shows that people will be more likely to purchase from you as a result. Use audio messages to connect with your audience and influence them to get to know and like you. Even a simple welcome message is a great start. 

2. Audio helps promote you as an expert in your field. People buy from people or companies they consider to be an authority or expert in the industry. Audio is an exceptional tool for you to use to demonstrate your authority on your niche topic as it lets you provide extended information in a short period of time.  Even 5 minutes of hearing you speak with authority has a lot of impact.  Produce how to audio messages, interviews and lessons as tools to demonstrate your authority on a topic. 

3. Audio Adds Proof.  People often make purchasing decisions based on the opinions of others. This is called using social proof. This opinion is particularly important if those “others” are people your target market respects, admires, or desire to be like. Easily tap into this social proof trigger by interviewing experts in your field and posting audio testimonials on your website. 

4. Audio is easy to produce.  Nothing beats the ease of producing an audio product.  You can use free audio software such as Audacity or purchase audio recording software to use.  Normally all you need is a good microphone that hooks right into your computer to start recording audios.  You can write out a script or talk about what you know without one.  An audio can be completed in a few minutes and uploaded to your website for your target group to hear. 

5. Audio is versatile.  You can easily take the audio you produce and create other information products.  Get the audio transcribed and you can have an ebook, book or home study program.  That means, you do the audio once and recreate it into many different, effective formats.  Learning to work with audio is a valuable tool in this modern business world. 

6. Audio is transportable. Because you can download an audio file to an ipod or other portable device, it remains one of the most popular ways to share information.  Being able to transport the audio to other areas makes it highly convenient.  Being able to listen to recordings at will when it’s convenient increases the audience base. 

7. Audio is Comforting. People love to recognize a voice.  Don’t you enjoy hearing the voice of your favorite person on the telephone? What about hearing an actor in the distance; doesn’t that peak your interest?  The same goes when people start to get accustomed to your voice.  Hearing a familiar voice can be very comforting to people.  Let people get to know you through your audios and you create a fan base, while developing and growing your business opportunities.