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To succeed, you should plan to fail

Myth: Failure is something that happens to you.

Most people don’t fully achieve their potential because they are afraid of failing. This fear paralyzes them, and they avoid taking the action they know they need to take.

Most people aren’t confident about trying new things, especially when they are afraid of being ridiculed or judged by others. As such, they’d rather not even try.

When you are running a business and/or trying to develop a new skill, you will experience some failures. But is that a bad thing?

What is failure to you? And how do you define it?

My view is this: Failure is not getting something wrong. Failure is omitting to take a required action towards an anticipated result.

If something doesn’t turn out the way we expect it to, we often end up criticizing ourselves or feeling that the outcome was directly due to our own weaknesses. As such, we avoid taking things on; that way, we don’t need to worry about failing.

After all, no one can judge you if you don’t put it out there and get out of your comfort zone.

As an example, let’s say you want to enter an award submission for one of the hair styles you recently created at your salon. You love how it came out; in fact, it came out just as you had envisioned. You nailed the look. Winning this award will be a great achievement and will enable you to showcase your work in front of a national audience. You can also then use it in your salon marketing strategy to showcase the fact that your work won an award. You get all the submission materials, you have photos of your work from all different angles, but you don’t end up submitting. You tell yourself that so many talented people will be entering your category or the cost of entry is more than you can afford… the excuses start pouring out. You start losing confidence, and you gradually convince yourself that it’s not worth entering. This happens in so many scenarios in our businesses.

Why do you avoid taking these risks though?

Most of us don’t want to fail; we don’t want to be embarrassed or feel ashamed. Especially if we fail in front of others.

But if you really look at the big picture, it is you who is responsible for setting the expectations of what failure will mean to you. When you don’t get to the result you wanted, only you have control over how you feel about the outcome; it is you who sets the expectation as to what failure means to you and how you will feel about it.

You get to decide what the result means to you. You get to determine if it’s negative or positive. You ultimately create the outcome by how you respond to the circumstances.

So, if we return to the example described above, let’s say you submit your work and it doesn’t get accepted. Instead of thinking of it as a failure on your behalf, you could focus on the positives of the experience. You now know what it takes to submit your work to a professional jury. You can take any feedback that was shared with you or look at other winning styles to get ideas about how you can become better. You can start planning for the next submission, and you’re one step closer to creating the winning style.

Make a deal with yourself and acknowledge that you will fail at some of the things you try in life.

Take failure as an opportunity to learn and grow, and congratulate yourself for taking a challenge on.

Think about failing as positive and that it makes you better. It’s a way to learn more and enhance yourself, your skills or your salon services. Every time you ‘fail’ you are becoming better at whatever it is you are attempting.

It’s like learning to drive. It probably wasn’t easy the first time you got behind the wheel, but you kept working on it, and each time you got better and better. After doing it so many times, you probably stopped thinking about it as a challenge… now you just drive.

Practice makes perfect. Even if it means practicing failing. If you can train yourself to accept your failures and the associated benefits, you will have more success.

Instead of avoiding failure, find ways to face failure head on and allow it to help you stretch and grow. Once you can accept you can fail, you will see yourself trying more new things, putting yourself out there more, and getting better than those around you who won’t venture out of their comfort zones.

Treat yourself more positively when you fail. Know that failing is making you better. You will learn new skills, meet new people, and have new experiences.

Put failing into your plan.


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