Failing forward: how to transform challenges into a success story

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failing forward

What skill sets do you need to turn a failure into your greatest success? It’s true that we often need to show incredible mental resilience to see an opportunity within failure. Adopt these key coping strategies to turn your failure into a valuable learning experience.

Be emotionally neutral
To extract as much knowledge from your negative experience as possible you will have to analyse it. But this can be a difficult process if you are too emotionally invested. By keeping your emotions in check you will be able to undertake a more in-depth analysis to really get to the heart of what went wrong. For example, if you lose a customer who was important to you but you aren’t sure why. Why not make contact with them to ask if there is anything you can do to get their business back? If something fell through the cracks on your end and they can’t be persuaded, then take on board the criticism and do what you can to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Then move on. In order to stay emotionally neutral, take solace from knowing that most of the great discoveries in science and industry are usually preceded by failures.

Take inspiration from others
Use quotes from motivators to help revive and reenergise your outlook. For example, Henry Ford, the founder of the automobile industry once said, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

fail forward

Don’t blame yourself
It’s easy to fall into the doldrums as you focus on your failure. But you could be doing yourself real harm. A recent study using brain scans showed the scans of people with high levels of self-blame match those of people with chronic depression. So, keep your chin up and know that staying positive will help you make better business decisions in the long run.

Put what you’ve learned to good use
What did you learn from analysing your failure? Is it time to switch business processes? Are you being advised to delegate more work, modify your products or services, or find outsourcing solutions? Knowing what you did wrong is not enough, you need to put your newfound knowledge into action. But be careful not to be too rigid in the changes you make; you may still need to vary your approach if they don’t work out.

Be tenacious and you will succeed
You can turn your situation around with pure tenacity and by applying the lessons you’ve learned, even if your business is initially unsuccessful.

One study by Stanford and University of Michigan economists tracked the numbers of successful and failed retail businesses over a 21-year period. It found that entrepreneurs who started businesses again after closure were more likely to be successful the second, third or fourth time around. What’s more, the success rate increased with each successive time their business failed. Keep this in mind and make it part of your ‘never give up’ ethos for success.

Looking for more inspiration?

The Officeworks Mini Masterclass for Small Business is designed to empower you to achieve your goals. This free online course features eight video lessons and is hosted by leading Australian small business owners. Combining expert insights with practical little wins to apply across all facets of your business and life. Click here to get started.

This article was brought to you by Officeworks who know it is all about the little wins when it comes to kicking big goals.

Ramzey Choker: “You will be defined by how you survive”

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