We’ve been trained since we were toddlers to believe that failing is bad. That it means you’ll be singled out as a subpar excuse for a human being incapable of achievement. We barely ever read about failure or see failure, yet we know it happens every day. Statistically, companies fail eight times more often than they succeed. It’s time we learn to view entrepreneurship as a way to embrace failure.
It is no surprise then that risk taking, despite being pretty much a synonym of entrepreneurship, is a source of anxiety and stress due to the high perceived risk of failure. Risk taking as a creative is even more intimidating, because if you fail, you can take down your entire business, and sometimes family and employees depend on you.
So you either get stuck on a never ending cycle of thinking and re-thinking an idea, since that seems a lot safer than pulling the trigger, or you pull the trigger before you are ready to embrace failure.
The problem with the first approach is that if you never try, you never win, and someone wise on the internet once said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. The problem with the second approach is that you’re missing out on an entrepreneurial super-strength and competitive advantage.
Here are three ways embracing failure will make you a better risk taker:
1. You’ll be better prepared for the future
Embracing the possibility of failure lets you prepare financially, psychologically and socially in case your idea doesn’t work out. Google “how to start a creative business” and most guides will suggest that before diving in, you have savings to cover up to 6 months of living in case you’re not profitable or it doesn’t work out.
2. You’ll learn and iterate faster
When you celebrate your failures, you get less attached to the idea of being successful and are able to look at your results in a more objective light, iterating faster when necessary, instead of avoiding admitting failure at all costs and wasting time and money on an idea that wasn’t going anywhere.
3. You’ll start dreaming big
Fear of failure leads to creative paralysis, and as a creative entrepreneur, that is a much more serious issue. The truth is, if you’re not at risk of failure, you’re not working on something worthwhile. The most brilliant entrepreneurial minds I’ve met/read/seen, not only own their failures, but carry them like a badge with pride. Embracing failure gives you permission to chase the impossible.
Creativity and innovation guru, Joseph Chilton Pearce said that “to live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong”. Real fears (a bear standing two feet away ready to attack) keep you safe. Fear of failure keeps you too safe, away from amazing opportunities to build the life you want. When you embrace failure, it will prepare you to take risks confidently. You’ll be empowered to think bigger, learn faster, and take action to become the creative entrepreneur you’re meant to be.