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Celebrate Success & Failure

Michelle Johnson

It’s easy to acknowledge success because, unlike failure, they don’t wound the ego. In the space of entrepreneurship and career independence, there is a lot of personal investment into the general success of a business. Meeting goals, accomplishing milestones, and running past the finish line are the things that let us know when we are on the right track. Failure lets us know what we were unable to achieve. It may be easy to acknowledge a win and acknowledge the lessons from a failure, but it isn’t a natural human tendency to celebrate the times we fall.

For this festive season, take some time to applaud the times you did fall down.

Celebrating failures doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but it should speak to the ability to fall with grace. Innovation and new practices come with failure as part of the process. Welcoming the idea of failure doesn’t mean encouraging it, but it removes the stressors associated with getting things perfect at the first attempt. It removes limitations when collaborating, experimenting, and developing new solutions to problems. Startups and newer businesses are usually innovators in their respective niches because they succeed at failing: they understand that it is part of the process. Moreover, they welcome it as part of the process. When you are just starting it’s okay to fail because you find your way.

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Failure is a scary thing for more established businesses because there is usually more to risk. Bouncing back from failure poses much more damage to resources and assets, financial or otherwise. The fallout is much more than falling short on a project, this can affect timelines for future projects, client relationships, and future revenue. The pressure is different because there is more risk. Established businesses have rigid structures and procedures in place to maintain a quality of processes and outputs to minimize risk. Of course, this will stunt innovation to some degree. The only solution is to understand which processes and procedures can benefit from being more flexible.

The first step to accomplishing this is to understand your business from the inside out. An internal audit from the frontline interactions with customers to the decision-making processes in upper management. You might find that experimenting with pricing would cause cash flow issues with your business, but being flexible in the ideation and conceptualization would be much more beneficial in solving the problems of your customers. Look at areas that can be improved by not sticking to the status quo or the norm. The things your business depends on, as long as they work well, should maintain its current process. However, look to optimize other departments to create newer best practices.

Of course, learning to accept failure is a process that welcomes failure in itself because it is atypical. Getting started with this frame of mind will ensure your business approaches a new year with a fresh take on growing, even if it’s in a different direction.



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