Failure? What Failure?: Putting the Monster to Rest

2 03 2011

Fear of failure is the monster under the bed - it's all in our heads!I had a fascinating conversation with my twin brother, David, the other day. We were talking about his latest class topic: Failure.

David is a professor of entrepreneurship – teaching students how to think like leaders, creators and Masters of Their Own Destinies.

So it may seem a little odd that his recent classes were devoted entirely to “Failure”.

Entrepreneurs and business owners – can you tell me why a professor of entrepreneurship would dedicate precious class hours to the in-depth study of falling flat on your face?

You know it. Because fear of failure is the under-the-bed monster that stalks every entrepreneur and, all too frequently, makes a kill. Only, instead of causing bodily harm, this mental demon devours entrepreneurial spirits.

You can hardly be Master of Your Own Destiny when fear has you dancing on a puppet string.

Interestingly enough, many entrepreneurs who quietly disappear from the business world, shamed by their lack of success, actually DIDN’T FAIL AT ALL. They just forgot to define what success would look like TO THEMSELVES. When “success” is a nebulous cloud of vaguery, barring pure dumb luck, “failure” is guaranteed.

The point, as David is teaching his class, is to start with a flashlight in your hand. Illuminate all aspects of your business… monsters, as any kid can tell you, are scared off by light. Fear of failure, in particular, melts at the first glow of purpose and preparation.

If success for you is a dollar amount, what is that dollar amount? Are you looking for just enough to pay your bills? Do you want enough to buy a house on every continent? How much product or service do you need to sell to get there?

If success for you is about opening up more personal time, how much time do you want? What level of income do you need to comfortably take that time? How many employees do you need to help you?

If success for you is about working in your slippers, or setting your own schedule, or turning your clients into friends, or writing your own paycheck, or just plain bragging rights – who is society to judge? Your definition of success is the one definition that matters; it’s the one definition that will legitimately motivate YOU.

So before you write off a business move as a total flop, go back and determine whether you started with the right definition of success. You may be more of a success than you ever knew.

Class dismissed!

“And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.”  ~Dr. Seuss

Dawn M. Tomczyk  |  DMT Artistry, LLC  |  810.923.4582  |  dawn@dmtartistry.com