7 Myths About Failure

7 Myths About FailureYesterday we got rid of some internal self-defeating garbage. Today we’re going to get practical.

Hopefully, we’ve now decided that we are going to refuse to be identified as failures. That’s the first step and an important one at that. It frees us up to take the next step and start working towards our dreams, goals, and vision.

In refusing to be identified as a failure, we’ve saved ourselves from immobilizing fear. Unfortunately, we’ve not been absolved of our need to proceed skillfully. The concept of failure and the consequences of such do still remain.

In order to understand failure, we need to look at some common myths surrounding failure:

Myth #1: Failure is an Identity

In case you missed yesterday’s post, this is the first step in developing a healthy understanding of failure. Go back and read it before you move forward.

Myth #2: Failure is The Same Thing as Failing

Let’s say you attempt to implement a new marketing system and it fails to produce effective results. You probably learned something in the process, but the fact remains that the project failed. If you fail once and refuse to move on, then you have truly experienced failure.

On the flip side if you get up, dust yourself off, and continue to fail, you’ll continue to learn and eventually implement something that works. By this logic, failing is a good thing. If you learn to fail small, fail early, and fail often, the lessons you’ll learn along the way will be invaluable.

Myth #3: Failure is Subjective

The worst thing you can do is realize that your business has experienced failure 6 months after the fact.

  • 6 months of throwing good money after bad…
  • 6 months of spinning wheels…
  • 6 months of wasting time…

Failure must be objective. Define your facts and figures and identify your absolute breaking point. If you don’t define what failure looks like in your business, your ego will. Your fragile ego will let your life spiral all the way down the drain before it admits defeat.

You’ll find yourself cashing in your 401k, selling cars, and taking out a second mortgage to finance a crashing business. This is when failure becomes a lot more personal.

Myth #4: Failure is Deserved

Please check any self-defeating attitudes at the door. Check out this post on eradicating self-sabotage if you struggle with this.

You do not deserve to fail. Your business does not deserve to fail. If you start out on this journey with the idea that you don’t deserve to succeed, I promise you that you won’t. Do your research, craft your business plan, and give it 127%. Don’t phone it in. Work your tail off to create some remarkable.

Your model may be flawed. The market may reject your idea. Things might just not work out. Don’t think for a second that your social status, personality, worldview, or anything else of that nature caused you to deserve failure.

Myth #5: Failure is a Step Backwards

Failure is a step forward if you’ll let it be. So what if your big idea went down the tubes? Maybe you would’ve spent the next 3 years pumping life support into a mediocre business venture. Now you’ve got the market knowledge and the lessons in hard knocks to apply towards the next project.

Failure equals experience. Leverage that experience against your next venture.

Myth #6: Failure is Evil

Failure is neutral. It is a response.

  • You neglected a team member and they left you.
  • You stopped writing good content and your blog subscribers abandoned you.
  • You made a bad product and the market rejected it.
  • You developed a great service, but nobody needed it.
  • You crafted an amazing marketing campaign, but no-one connected with it.

I would even argue that failure is benevolent. Now you’ve got the chance to go back to the drawing board with a new understanding and a new mindset. This is where you can really create something that works.

Myth #7: Failure is Fatal

This is the most important myth that we need to debunk when talking about failure. We need a significant paradigm shift here.

Failure is not Death. Failure is Birth.

Failure is that temporary state of being where we realize that we’ve lost our focus. Failure gives us the very opportunity that we need to get back to the basics and work on the stuff that actually matters.

We can redefine our vision and see where we’ve strayed. We can examine our foundation and find the very cracks that led to our destruction. We can re-evaluate our mission and reconcile the differences between where we were, where we are, and where we want to be.

Moving Forward

Embrace each failure as a temporary state of being; an opportunity for significant self-improvement and never a permanent destination. Experience failure and milk it for all its worth, but never concede to it.

What have you learned from your most recent failure?

Photo Credit: Mythbusters (TV Show)

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  • http://www.joeystrawn.com Joey Strawn

    I love this post. Thanks for putting it out there Kenny. Failure, especially in the marketing world, is seen with such disdain, and while I don't think it should be striven for, it's inevitable. I wrote a post a while ago about keeping a mindset of using mistakes and unexpected occurrences for your benefit (http://joeystrawn.com/2010/05/19/luca-brasi-marketing-strategist/)

    Thanks for writing this today.

    • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

      Thanks for reading this today, Joey. I've learned that if I ever want to get what I want in life, I have to be willing to fail repeatedly.