There was an article in the New York Times last Sunday about failed start-ups.
But no one was wallowing in their sorrows or crying into their raw vanilla lattes.
In fact, one savvy entrepreneur had organized a yearly conference–FailCon–where entrepreneurs came together to share their stories and celebrate their failures.
Some had squandered millions of angel investor money. One had a product that no one liked. He shut the whole company down, told his story at the conference, and then had 100,000 requests for information. That guy might have wallowed a bit.
FailCon eventually failed, too. (Oh, the irony.) They decided to call it quits in the U.S. once they realized that failure as a badge of honor was finally on everyone’s radar.
In Transformational Coaching we have a paradigm that says this:
There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.
On the one hand, yes, it’s an invitation to turn failures into learning experiences, to glean what you can from the choices you made and to move on to the next adventure with more wisdom under your belt.
Love it. It’s smart. It’s important to be on entrepreneurial people’s radar. But there’s more.
What happens when you’re failing in the moment?
When you’re face-to-face with a client or prospect and your message isn’t landing? When your audience is restless? When you hear white noise after a launch or a client isn’t following through on your suggestions?
Before you decide YOU are a failure, broken, out of her league, totally unloveable and barely human, take a deep breath.
Remind yourself that failure isn’t an invitation to find yourself lacking.
Rather, failure is simply an invitation to do something, anything, different.
There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.
Feedback that tells you to try something new.
Be willing to abandon your plan and ad lib until something connects.
Be willing to skip the notes and speak from your heart about what you’re passionate about.
Be willing to rework a product.
Tweak the language you use to promote it.
Refer a client on to someone else if necessary.
Success doesn’t have a recipe.
It’s an intuitive experiment where you use what’s available. Maybe some raspberry jam and chipotle peppers, tofu and kale leads to an exquisite new taste sensation.
Or maybe it leads to “Meh,” and begs for more experimentation.
Keep experimenting in everything.
And be willing to change course as needed until something sticks.
FailCon did. They didn’t last in the U.S. So they went global, instead. They took their important message to new people who hadn’t heard it, yet. Invitation accepted!
(Oh, and the raspberry jam, chipotle peppers, tofu, kale? Exquisite!)
I’m curious…have you ever had a business disaster that you salvaged by trying something different? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and share your story. Let’ have a mini FailCon!