As a young business woman, I’ve made mistakes in business that I’m not ashamed to mention; from not knowing how to manage growth of my consulting business in the past and thus loosing clients, to the failed job interview, and so on. I’ve had many successes so far as well, having reinvented my accounting, bookkeeping and consulting business and growing it by 30% in one year, to launching a successful web-based bookkeeping firm which already has happy clients in several states. It’s the ebb and flow of life in general. However while I rejoice in my successes, I and many of us often dwell in our failures. Why?
With all the countless books on how to succeed in life, love and business, etc, there are no questions as to why failure scares us. We are obsessed with winning! We are a society that worships winners even while knowing one of the bases of entrepreneurship is about taking risks. Some of us live our lives like a guided missile headed toward some island called “Success” never realizing that failure in normal life can completely divert our mission. Thus we’ve never been taught how to react to failure and when we do our lives fall apart, we feel worthless, ashamed even. If we can only begin to start teaching how to respond to failure we might even be better business people! We will learn that even though we can’t predict when failure will take place, we can at least prepare how to react to it and how to persevere through it!
Here are five things failure has taught me:
1. Failure teaches you about yourself. Without failures our little egos would run amuck and cause havoc and destruction on the world! Ok might be a bit exaggerated, but failure teaches us that we are human, that you know what “I Don’t know everything!”
2. Failure opens the window to greatness in us. When I experience a failure, each time, I’ve found resilience and strength I never knew existed. I took a background in accounting and embarked on opening a human services agency. I failed, but realized I have all it takes to be an entrepreneur and thus poured my energies into my bookkeeping firm.
3. Failure is part of the process. There is no light without dark, no happy without sad, no peanut butter without… you get my point. We are creatures of balance so in life there must be some risks.
4. We are not alone. Failure is what EVERY successful entrepreneur is made of! You think Thomas Edison created the light bulb on one try? Once I realized that I wasn’t alone, I did feel better. (Misery loves company? J)
5. Success and failure are moral judgments. Failure isn’t an objective occurrence, it’s merely subjective based on our experiences in life and thus we can change how it affects us. Expecting to always win as child, this failure was embarrassing to me. After prayer, reading and talking I realized that the only person who took this as a failure was me, everyone else around me felt I had accomplished something great by taking the risk. Eventually I had to agree.
Everything that has happened in my fledging business career is totally normal as I realized that these failures were actually a reflection of a reality of me I need to examine. I’ve learned to change how and what I perceive as failure so that I may realize bigger, better and more lasting success. I don’t know but what I do know is that while we all love basking in the glow of success we should learn to look impending failure in the distant eye and say “bring – it – on”
Be Empowered People…
Katrina M. Harrell is a self-proclaimed “Proactive Bookkeeper” ,Small business champion, accountant and small business consultant in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. She has been an accountant for over 12 years and is also CEO of YourSimple Bookkeeper, Inc. which provides virtual bookkeeping services to micro and small business across the country as well as creator of YourSimple Bookkeeper in-a-Box™ which provides practical recordkeeping and bookkeeping guidance for micro business owners. Her blogs about small business, entrepreneurship and financial management can be found on www.katrinamharrell.com or her facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/yoursimplebookkeeperdotcom or she can be reached at Katrina@yoursimplebookkeeper.com