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Seek Opportunities To Fail

by Richard Avdoian

How Failure Can Be a Valuable Steppingstone to Success.

Typically we do not think about all the benefits of failure. We would rather deny or not think about failure at all. As business owners, we don’t like to fail and certainly don’t want to discuss it. Unfortunately, we have come to believe and in some cases are taught that failure is unacceptable, but it is our failures that fuel creativity and innovation and motivate better things, personal growth and business success.

Smart business owners learn this lesson early in life and tend to be more visionary, adventurous, risk takers and bounce back quickly from failures. They are not afraid to think outside the box, often do not see a box, experiment with new products and services, and venture out to new niche markets.

At its core, failure builds and enhances our self-confidence, character and perseverance. Years ago I met a very successful businessman, and I asked about his secret to success. His reply? “I sought out opportunities to fail.” I thought I had heard him incorrectly. “Don’t you mean opportunities to succeed?” He looked at me and smiled.  “If I only sought opportunities I would succeed at, I would have tried very few things. By trying and failing, I learned to fine-tune my business skills, what I really don’t know about business and hired professionals to help take my business to the next level, which resulted in surpassing my competitors.”

Business owners who seek opportunities to fail learn to see their failures as learning lessons – steppingstones to success. They recognize that it wasn’t so bad, and as Elton John puts it, “I’m still standing.” They step back and invest the time to evaluate, revise their approach and go at it again. Individuals who look at failure critically often say, “I can’t do it” and “I’m not going to try that again” and later complain that they are left in the dust of their competitors.

Failing does more than simply build perseverance and confidence; it teaches creative thinking, practical business skills and teamwork. Having business practices, products or services fail teaches us to think before we react, question the decisions we’re making, and be open to ask for feedback from employees and customers to minimize future failures.

Failure teaches you how to dodge mistakes. We learn what went wrong, and this allows us to identify our mistakes. Most opportunities and challenges we face aren’t once-in-a-lifetime. The benefit of failure is that it teaches us how to avoid making the same mistake in the future.

Failure makes you more credible. Embracing and sharing our stories of failure makes us more vulnerable. It positions us as seasoned veterans, and when we are talking with investors, customers or other business owners, it’s these failures and the lessons learned that are most highly valued and make us more relatable, which adds to our credibility.  

Remember to seek opportunities to fail and do so often. Selecting only those situations you know you will succeed at will limit what you explore. Failure is a valuable steppingstone to business success.

Richard Avdoian is president/CEO of the Midwest Business Institute Inc., a business consulting and training firm.  For information about training and seminars, contact Richard at 618-972-8588 or Richard@RichardAvdoian.com.
Submitted 9 years 145 days ago
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