To learn how to overcome failure as an entrepreneur, you must first take 100% responsibility for yourself. That means cultivating the capability to choose how you respond to painful experiences or what you’re currently calling ‘failures’.
At any given time or in any situation, entrepreneurs must consciously choose how to respond to their experiences. It’s essential to recognise that you’re not in control of the situation itself, only your response to it, if you want to overcome failure.
The difference between reacting and responding.
The act of responding is powerful because it requires making a choice. In addition, thoughtful responses allow the entrepreneurial brain to think strategically about the next steps, whereas reactions don’t.
As entrepreneurs, it’s our responsibility to give ourselves the space to respond because by doing so, we give ourselves more (and better) choices.
I’ve had painful experiences when I failed to do this, and you can probably relate.
In Strategic Coach, we have a thinking process called The Experience Transformer that teaches you how to overcome failure as an entrepreneur. If you’re not happy with a situation or your performance, you likely consider that experience negative. But experiences of failure are the most valuable in an entrepreneur’s life. It takes courage and a broadening of the mind to confront them, especially with our Experience Transformer process, which requires you to write down everything that came from it—both good and bad.
The truth about failure.
Painful failures as an entrepreneur narrow down your world and can become lasting trauma. But if you learn to value and see the good in them, you lower your chances of letting past experiences impact your future reactions to challenges. That’s why it’s critical to build your present capability to deal with anything negative.
Just think: If an entrepreneur fails ten times and extracts value from each failure to the point where they see each one as a valuable lesson instead, they’ll be prepared for the future instead of just dwelling on the past. With this mindset shift, you’ll never have failed, but rather experienced something incredibly valuable.
You’ll be able to diagnose where the pain comes from—whether it was unpreparedness, surprise, or inability to hold your own in the face of a challenge as an entrepreneur. Then, you might reflect on how you could have responded when you reacted instead. From this vantage point, you’ll see how to overcome failure as an entrepreneur. And, next time, you’ll see it coming.
Setting up future wins.
Going from labelling a situation a ‘failure’ to a ‘painful experience’ is profound for entrepreneurs, and it’s a fantastic transformation that you can choose now.
To be clear, it does not deny that it wasn’t fun to go through. It’s not pretending it wasn’t painful. Instead, it’s retraining your mind and nervous system to be more resilient as an entrepreneur and human being.
When you’re confident you can handle challenging situations, you step into the future knowing you always have the choice to respond thoughtfully. You have 100% responsibility for yourself.
Life is full of surprises. Unfortunately, there’s a great inequality among human beings and their ability to deal with things that catch them by surprise. The best entrepreneurs have controlled responses that enable them to see choices out of sight when in reaction mode.
The ability to be present.
Responding requires presence, which is an active, not passive, state. Things change from situation to situation, and so do you as an entrepreneur. So, don’t treat experiences like they’re the same. Instead, be fully present with each one.
One thing that Strategic Coach does with entrepreneurs is begin every meeting with a Positive Focus—an exercise where you share your latest achievements and ‘wins’. Sometimes, someone is carrying a burden. This allows them to share, get guidance, and learn to control their responses so that this burden can become a valuable tool for learning.
To learn how to overcome failure as an entrepreneur, choose to redefine ‘failures’ as ‘painful experiences’, respond instead of react, be present, and take 100% responsibility for cultivating the confidence needed to move forward powerfully and confidently.
Overcoming failure is just one facet of the entrepreneur’s journey. If you’d like to learn more about entrepreneurial growth and development—both personally and professionally—check out our podcasts.