Several years ago leadership expert John Maxwell wrote a book that probably did not get the readers it should have gotten. The book was Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success. I don’t know what his sales have been for this book, but I do know that many people do not like to think about failure.
The fact is that anyone who has not failed at something probably hasn’t done a lot. Failure is a regular event for every entrepreneur and anyone who is doing significant things. Zig Ziglar used to say that “Failure is an event, not a person.” Failure doesn’t make you a failure unless you quit trying. Still, failure is painful and many of us prefer to not think about it any more than we have to.
The key to making failure a positive thing is by learning from those failures to make us better people and more successful in what we are doing. Dave Ramsey often remarks that he was a millionaire and lost it all before becoming a very successful financial adviser and becoming a millionaire again. He learned from the mistakes he made that caused him to lose everything, and when he began to come back he avoided those mistakes. Every failure contains important lessons that can help us grow and become more successful.
I know what it’s like to own a business that fails because of mistakes the owner made. It’s painful. It’s hard not to feel like a failure. It’s emotionally and physically draining. But, learning how those mistakes led to the closure of the business can help one avoid making those same mistakes again when we become to come back.
After the business closed I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I had done wrong and how I could have done things differently and better. I learned a lot from that time of reflection that has helped me as I build up my current auction business. So far, I have avoided everyone of those early mistakes.
As one who has been in the ministry since 1981 part of my nature is to teach. I have published eight books related to aspects of ministry. Part of my reflection on the failure of our business was to write, and when I finished writing out my mistakes and how things could have been done differently I decided to make it available to others. Rather than releasing it through a publisher I decided to turn it into an e-book to help make it more available to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The book is Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business. It can also be ordered through Barnes and Noble for your NOOK device.
The cheapest lessons one can learn about failure comes from those who have already failed. Any time we can learn what they did wrong so we can avoid those same mistakes can help us avoid them in our lives. This book details things I did wrong and offers insights on how I could have done better. The book is only $4.99, so if you avoid even one of the mistakes I made it will be money well spent.
Failures will come. Just don’t let them turn you into a failure, and don’t let them cost you your business like mine did.