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Celebrating Failure

Does the fear of failure ever hold you back? Have YOU ever talked YOU out of doing something YOU wanted to do - because you feared failure? You're not alone. This is almost a phenomenon among women entrepreneurs.

Last weekend, I took time to sit and read the October issue of Success magazine. After listening to the free CD during a road trip, I felt compelled to sit and read the many articles in that particular issue on the topic of Failure and Handling Obstacles. This hits very close to home with the common challenges faced by my own coaching clients.

Most often you will read articles about how to achieve success. I want to take a different approach and give some tips on facing fears and handling failure.

"Courage allows the successful woman to fail-
and learn powerful lessons-
from the failure-
so that in the end,
she didn't fail at all."

- Maya Angelou

In business, we all experience failure at some point. It's how we deal with failure that makes all the difference in the world. In listening to the Success CD, there was reference to 4 key questions around failure.

1. In the midst of failure, what is good about this?
It is so important to stop and think it through. I've had my own fair share of failures since re-launching my business just a few years ago. I, too, used to get sucked into thinking that everyone else had it easier - that everyone was "making 6 figures in 6 weeks (or less!)" and that I was the only one struggling. Not so! What I learned was that there are lessons everywhere in every situation. Think about a recent scenario or experience that you deemed to be a failure - what is good about it? Did you learn something about yourself? Did you figure out a different way of doing something? There's always good. Be mindful next time - take notes - and, as Maya Angelou always says: "When you know better, you do better."

2. How can you use this as a positive force in the next 24-48 hours?
On the CD, the words of wisdom were specifically related to sales calls and those instances where you experience rejection. The advice is to stop, think it through, assess, and take action again - immediately. It's like falling off a horse. We always hear that it is critical to get up and get back on that horse. Same holds true in situations like making sales calls. What could you have said differently? I know, in my past, there were many instances when I would hang up and then remember some key phrases that I forgot - one of them being to ask for the sale! Duh! I often found myself falling into the bad habit of actually coaching people on the phone rather than asking probing questions to get to the heart of the matter/their pain. One of the benefits of working with my own coach was that I audio-taped (with the person's permission, of course) the sales calls and then sent the audio to my coach. She would review and send back helpful tips - and then I would go and make another call. Sometimes, I would even call back the same person - admit that I had not handled the previous call in the best manner and could we start over again. Yes, that takes humility - but it also shows authenticity when coming from a place of service.

3. Think about the top 2-3 gifts this failure has given you - both personally and professionally - and possibly for the rest of your life.
When we stop and think through recent business activities - whether a sales call, a speaking engagement, hosting a live event - most of us come away thinking about how we could have handled it better... differently. We're human. That's what we do. A better way would be to assess - take note - and give thanks that we even HAD the opportunity in the first place. I always remind myself that 95% of women entrepreneurs don't take some of the risks that I have, particularly in the past few years. I have found the courage to step up and step out - always keeping in mind that I am being of service. It's about progress, not perfection, for me. I do not view mistakes as failures - it's all a learning curve for me. And the way I think about it makes the difference - bring it!

4. What skill or strategy do I need to learn/re-visit so this doesn't happen again!
This is one of my favorite tips because it IS all about continuous learning. What is one thing I could do differently or better at my next speaking engagement - or live event - or sales call. Just one thing can make a huge difference. The thing is - you've got to get out there and continue to take action. That is the only way you are able to apply the knowledge you acquired from that particular situation.


Fail often. Fail fast. Fail daily. The only "true" failure is the failure to try - to try anything - to try something new - to try something again.

YES, IT TAKES COURAGE! Of course it does. If this was easy (entrepreneurship) - then everyone would be doing it. As a result of all that I learned by listening to that particular SUCCESS CD and reading that issue of the magazine, I've decided to change my approach with coaching my clients this month - I am going to celebrate failure. I am going to reward failure. Because that means my clients have taken action - they are making more sales calls - they are hosting more live events - they are accepting more speaking engagements. They are stepping out and being of service. And that deserves to be celebrated!

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