The Courage To Fail


A jolt wakes up from your sleep in the back seat and out the windshield you see this deer flying about forty feet before it hits the blacktop in a crumpled heap, DOA.

All of a sudden all you and your fellow passengers have is a smashed up car that won’t budge and no cell reception on the long stretch of lonely mountain road in western Colorado.

Could be a problem for getting back to the front range in time for work, eh?

That’s exactly what happened to my oldest son and four of his pals on the way back to Fort Collins from a gig in Norwood, Colorado. (Ever heard or Norwood? Me neither…)

Not to leave you hanging, they made it back with a serious sleep deficit, but more or less on time. What was interesting about the story was how matter-of-factly it was told.

So why am I passing this on to you?

What I’ve noticed about how these kids handled the situation is a lot like how I see the most successful entrepreneurs I know handle failure, frustration and defeat.

They are ready for Murphy’s inevitable jabs, take the hit and without hesitation simply get back on track to the goal at hand.

They have the courage to fail.

In business growth in general and marketing in particular, failure is inevitable, and in fact a direct corollary to success and forward movement.

Of course, we’re always doing that dance between learning and getting as much info ahead of time as possible to avoid the potholes, while keeping up that forward momentum.

Like riding a bicycle, it’s way easier to stay upright when you are in motion.

Three things to bear in mind to keep moving forward:

1. Your biggest obstacle is probably in your own head – check your beliefs because they are the gateways to solutions. Henry Ford had it right when he said, “If you think you can or can’t do a thing, you are probably right.”

2. Nobody likes failure and frustration, so to accomplish great things you need to get “out of your comfort zone”. Get used to feelings of discomfort, focus on results.

3. Measure and correct. Keeping track of the numbers, the results you have set out gets you past the past.

I am often amazed and amused at how much energy people waste defending themselves and explaining why they did a particular thing when things didn’t go quite right…

Winners keep it simple when reviewing results: Either it’s a win, or you learn something. And you win both ways when you take the time to learn from the failures.

You win especially big when your knowledge gained at “Hard Knocks U.” and from wiser brethren keeps you a step or two ahead of Murphy. That’s why constant, current education is so critical.

Of course, then you have to take that knowledge and to put it to work out there in the marketplace where it counts…

To paraphrase the great Yogi Berra, “Business is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical.”

To your success and beyond!

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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”   ~ Winston Churchill