A recent NPR story I heard on the drive home from work really caught my attention. It was called “Failure: The F-Word Silicon Valley Loves and Hates” and it’s worth a listen at just under 10 minutes long. Failure has certainly been a part of my own journey as I discussed in this interview with IdeaMensch. While failure has mostly negative connotations associated with it, I don’t think it is something we should be afraid of as entrepreneurs (or even as people in general). I love how Winston Churchill put it when he said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
For a deeper perspective on the subject, I asked around for some ideas on how failure can be leveraged to find success, what role failure plays in an entrepreneurs life, how to recover from failure, etc. Whether you are an entrepreneur yourself, or someone who is working toward a goal and has seen a few setbacks, these answers will give you some food for thought to help you reach your ultimate goal. Don’t give up!
View Failures as Great Sources of Data
Contributed by: Scott Berkun, bestselling author of The Myths of Innovation
Any entrepreneur should realize how many different kinds of failure there are and that any successful entrepreneur in history failed in various ways before they became successful. There is too much to learn in doing new ventures for anyone, no matter how smart, to get it right the first, or third time, without major failures along the way. If you have a long term view of your life, which you should, failures are great sources of data. You have a chance to learn things you couldn’t have learned any other way about your team, your industry, or yourself. As long as you are able to learn from your failures, your odds of success the next time only go up, as you know things your competitors haven’t learned yet.
Learn from Trial and Error
Contributed by: Scott Porad, Chief Technology Officer, Cheezburger Network
Every failure has fueled my successes because I’m the type of person who learns from trial-and-error. The key to that way of learning is by intentionally observing what isn’t working, and correcting for it the next time around. At Cheezburger, this has manifested itself in large and small ways. A small example ...