The Power of Rethinking “Failure”

If you are a leader in business or an organization, 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 person of stature handles a mistake and how that person 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.

Remember, no one has to stay in the same place 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 leader 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.

Top Motivation Busters to Avoid

Motivation busters can sap the energy out of you as soon as you foot crosses your business threshold.  Being successul in business means finding ways to stay motivated to reach goals with or without outside support. You might have to work alone in this effort as you pursue professional opportunities.

Become more aware of ways you might be losing your motivation by understanding these top motivation busters that all business professionals need to avoid. 

1. Waiting for others to motivate you. If you need others to motivate you in order to reach your goals you will soon find that you won’t be getting much support. People are busy and few people take time to consistently provide others with the motivational words they need. Reach into your leadership background and find ways to set short and long-term goals that keep you going to reach goals all by yourself.  

2. Keep doing what you don’t like. Few things are more de-motivating the continuing to do activities that you really don’t like to do. When you have a lot of skills and talents, don’t waste precious time in life pursuing activities you don’t like. Wrap up your obligations if necessary and move on to activities and adventures that keep you excited and happy instead of struggling with activities you are not excited about doing.

3. Take criticism from others to heart. It is common for others to share more negative words than positive. If you let yourself be discouraged when others criticize you or what you do, you will find yourself down and out most of the time. Put everything you hear in perspective. You are not what others say; you are what you say to yourself. Learn positive self talk and speak truth to your mind on a consistent basis to drown out the negative criticism that might come your way.  

4. Procrastinate and increase your stress. When you fail to complete tasks you increase your stress. Procrastinating until the last minute or to the point when things really get out of hand is a way to only cause more problems in your life. Set a schedule and face difficult tasks one step at a time. Get things done ahead of schedule and give yourself relief and time to do your task correctly.  

5. Fail to have confidence in your decisions. If you consistently worry about decisions you make learn to look at all of the available alternatives and review the pros and cons of each prior to making a decision. If you have time, don’t make a hasty decision but give yourself time to really think about what you’ll decide. If you have to decide quickly go with the decision that will cause the least harm. Then take a course on decision making so you can feel better about the necessary decisions you will inevitably have to make.

6. Give up easily. One of the best ways to lose motivation is to be in the habit of giving up when things get tough. Instead of being a quitter learn the self-discipline necessary to stick things out to completion. No doubt about it, you will face some very tedious tasks as a leader. But you can’t lead if you can’t finish. Decide to reach the goal and analyze the steps you have to take to complete a difficult task. Be ready to reach the goal line or don’t take on the leadership task.  

7. Maintain bad habits.  A habit is an action you do without thinking. In order to change a habit you have to be conscious of your activities and then deliberately do something that changes that behavior. If you have a habit of telling yourself negative things you have to consciously know how to change that self talk into something positive. If you have a habit of quitting you have to change that to create a habit of completing activities. It is possible to change habits but like anything else worthwhile it can also be hard to do; but as a leader you are up to the task.

Learning to stay motivated is an important skill in business. Sometimes you can be doing things that you are not aware of that take your motivation away.  By recognizing these motivation busters you can learn to be conscious of when they strike, avoid them and  increase your self-motivation. In this way, you take control of becoming a more successful professional.

Business Plan- Why You Need to Write One

If you have a business and want it to succeed, you need to have a business plan.  It’s as simple as that. A business plan is a document that outlines your business goals and the plan for achieving them. Even if you are working from the kitchen table, you still need a business plan.  A business plan can help you do the following: 

  • Define your business and set goals
  • Create a plan of action
  • Develop your brand
  • Organize your marketing efforts
  • Keep you focused on your business 

When it comes to developing your business, writing out your business plan will help you sort out your ideas and make it easier to identify which ones make the most sense. This will be a great thing when you start coming up with so many business ideas that you get overwhelmed. Your business plan will keep you on track.   

Your business can’t do everything for everyone. Without a business plan you might forget that point. Writing your business plan will let you narrow down which products and services you are going to offer, as well as help you decide which target market to offer them to. 

For example, if you are a professional events planner, you can choose to target market your business to other local businesses and offer to help them organize and put on events to market their businesses.You can market yourself to local residential busiensses and families to help them organize all types of events.. 

You can also market your business online and create online seminars or teleconferences or information products and people can learn from you long distance. Once you have determined who your target market is and how your business is going to help them, you will need to write out your goals and determine your plan of action in achieving them.  

Your business brand will help you achieve recognition among your target market and set you apart from the competition.  Some people can really struggle with determining their brand, and unfortunately, never create one.  Having a business plan will help you create a “big picture” idea of your business.  When you see the big picture, you can determine how you want your customers to see you. 

As you know, there are many different ways to market your business.  Another benefit to having a business plan and being able to see the “big picture” is being able to organize your marketing efforts. 

Your business plan will help you decide how you want to promote your business.  Some examples include marketing to local customers or taking your business global and marketing online.  

Finally, your business plan can keep you focused on your business and your goals.  If someone approaches you about a joint venture project or if you have an idea for a solo project, you can look at your business plan and see if that is something that would enhance your business. By now, it should be pretty obvious that writing a business plan is worth the effort.