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Ten Tips Every Failure Needs to Know

Spending the holidays with family is wonderful; the food, the laughter, the fun is all a given and so are the many questions you’ll be asked by all of your aunts and uncles that you haven’t seen since the last family get together.

So are you ever going to graduate? Where are you working now? How is the job going? Tell us about your new girlfriend/boyfriend?”

Very quickly, the holidays have turned into a game of twenty questions.  It is an opportunity to share with your family and friends all of the great things that have been happening in your life, but what about the not so great things, flat out failures even, do you share those too?

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an event put on by Launch Fishers called Fail Fest.  The event focused on changing the way in which failure is viewed and the role it can play in innovation and ultimately, success.  In some areas of the country, Silicon Valley for instance, failure is worn like a badge of honor, but, here in the Midwest, it is not viewed through the same lens and seems to be a taboo topic.  However, it doesn’t have to be this way, especially considering the risk involved with starting a business or buying a franchise; the chance of failure in these ventures is relatively high but how you react to the failure can make or break future success.

According to Michael Cloran of DeveloperTown, distinguishing between good and bad failures can change the perception of how we view and discuss failures.  If you put your all into something and it fails because of bad timing, lack of capital, or other reasons beyond your control, is that really a bad failure?  I would argue it’s not.  Putting your all into the company or project shows courage and commitment and picking yourself up afterward shows tenacity and resilience.  A failure like this is one that you shouldn’t be ashamed to tell your family about at the holidays.

If you are looking for a way to answer or address your family or friends’ questions about your failed venture or the risks you are taking, here are ten things to remember from the Fail Fest speakers who have failed, owned their failures, and have ultimately went on to become successful entrepreneurs.

  1. There are no failures, just lessons.
  2. Do not be driven by fear.
  3. You have to define what success means to you before you can know what failure is.
  4. Keep yourself around people who are positive and have the right mindset.
  5. When the times are the darkest, it is the time for greatest opportunity.
  6. Being able to identify your weaknesses and adapt to failure leads to success.
  7. Failure tests your limits and makes you stronger.
  8. Money is a tool to success, not the measure of success.
  9. Necessity is the mother of innovation.
  10. If you mess up, own it.