Making Failure Your Friend

So, it’s pretty easy to tell someone that they need to embrace failure, but it’s not always easy to put that into action. Failure hurts, failure sometimes sucks, but failure can still turn into an opportunity.

Personally, I can’t think of a failure that I’ve had that hasn’t taught me something. Hiring the wrong fit for my company and having to let them go is never easy, but every time I have had to do it, I learn more about what I could’ve done in the hiring process to find out more about that person. Every failure is an opportunity to learn a tremendous lesson. So much so, that I hardly want to call my failures ‘failures’ anymore – even though I’ve used the word easily ten times already in this blog post.

Some of my greatest lessons in owning and running a company came in the form of some painful mistake or failure. In the beginning, my failures were my own and only affected me, and so they were easier to accept and learn from. As my company has grown to more locations, many more employees and a larger reputation, failure becomes much harder to take – so much so that it can be paralyzing.  It becomes much scarier when you have people relying on you; when you feel responsible for others.  I rely on a lot of people who know me and my business to help me think and talk through calculated vs. reckless risks.

Sometimes, when my business was small and just starting, a decision would be made by saying ‘what the hell’ and going for it – but it’s been hard to maintain that philosophy as my responsibilities grows. It’s harder to throw my hands up in the air and say ‘what the hell, let’s go for it’ when so many people depend on me. The risk of failure is too scary – but still, you have to try, because failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Always wondering what would have happened if you’d gone for it is the worst thing that can happen.

I hope that, in my company, in my relationships, and that as a parent, I have created an environment where people know it’s okay to fail. Where they understand the lessons, they can learn, and the goals they can still achieve through and after failure. I hope they see the value I place on these lessons and understand that it’s okay to make mistakes, as long as they’re always learning.