1. Don’t fear it.
2. Don’t fake it.
3. Don’t stop it.
4. Don’t blame the black holes.
5. Criticize cautiously.
Let’s take each one separately.
There are five things you should remember when it comes to failure:
1. Don’t fear it. It will happen to you. It will happen more regularly if you are trying to achieve great things. You must take action in the face of fear. Action-orientation is the top characteristic of world class entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are constantly in action.
If you take action, you will either succeed, or you will fail. If you succeed, that's great. Keep going. If you fail, then you have the opportunity to learn something which makes you smarter, wiser, and stronger. If you want to be a great entrepreneur, you must develop a habit of action, even in the face of fear and failure. If you are weak in this habit, you have to force yourself to take action over and over again until it becomes an automatic habit.
How can you do this? Before you go to bed, plan your next day. Get up earlier than normal. Study hard. If you have a part-time job, work with excellence. Do what you are supposed to do. Go above and beyond in your duties, whether it is school work or housework.
These are the habits that lead to success. This is the price that you pay. Can you become a successful entrepreneur without learning these lessons or learning from your failure? Of course not! That means that whenever you fail, just remember it is part of the process.
2. Don’t fake it. Be honest about your effort, your failures and your successes. Practice humility. God is watching and listening. I have three children at home. My kids are great kids, but even great kids get into trouble. As adults, we need to extend a lot of grace to our kids—adults make mistakes and fail often and so do kids who don't have as much experience in life. When my daughter was age seven, she was playing and broke a picture frame. She felt so guilty and she thought I would punish her. She went to bed feeling terrible and when I came up to see her, she was crying.
I asked her, “Grace, did you break the picture frame?” The tears rolled out of her eyes but she admitted the truth. “Yes, Daddy.”
I was so glad for her honesty. She thought I was going to be very angry with her and scold her. But when I sat on her bed to talk to her, I said, “Grace, I want you to know that I am not angry with you. You are much more precious to me than that picture frame. And I want you to know that I love you, and I think your great, and it is such a privilege to be in the same family as you.”
You should have seen her countenance change. Her tears stopped instantly. Her face relaxed. A smile appeared and she gave me a hug and I felt great. Granted, it was her mother's picture frame, not mine.
Maybe you haven’t grown up in a family that practices kindness towards one another. Not all parents practice grace. And we know that none of us is perfect. King David of the Bible was recognized as a man that God really liked. Yet David was imperfect. He sinned … a lot! Yet he was honest with his sin and confessed it openly to God and to others.
When you make mistakes, admit them. Live life honestly. Live with integrity—without a mask. It’s refreshing and people are attracted like magnets to someone who isn’t trying to cover up all the time. And for the times when you don’t have the strength, keep praying that God will give you the strength to be a person of integrity and honesty. God will be faithful and will grow that in your life.
3. Don’t stop it. Fail forward. Keep pressing ahead to try new things and achieve the dreams that God has placed in your heart. Don’t let your past failures be an excuse for refusing to try again.
When my son, Sam, was only five, he liked to go into the department store and play Mario or something on the TV games that the toy section has set up. At age 5, he was already better than me because he had learned how to solve the problems of the first level and move up to the second level. In that way, the challenges you face in life are like playing a video game. You don't get to move to level two until you have conquered level one.
Problems in life are literally unending. Often our success as an entrepreneur comes from the speed at which we are able to get back up on our feet and move ahead to the next challenge.