Moving on from Failure: What Every Entrepreneur Must Know
Failure is not you — it’s just an episode in your life. Listen to your inner voice, follow your courage, and act with conviction even when the going gets tough.
Any entity, especially an organization with big dreams, must go through a period of trial to prove its mettle. My first company, Edifecs, came across this test early on in its growth stage. Within a few years of inception, the company’s fortunes took a drastic turn and its financial situation plummeted from comfortable to calamitous.
It was the ‘perfect storm’. Everything that could go wrong did. Our biggest client, accounting for 40 per cent of our revenue, went bankrupt and the revenue stream dried up. Deals went wrong. The company quickly accumulated debt, tax notices began to come in, and we were even forced to postpone payment of salaries for a few months. The number of employees, which had swelled to more than a hundred, fell rapidly to fewer than 25 worldwide. The future looked grim.
Every person told me I must cut my losses and change track. There was no one I could reach out to who would bail out Edifecs even for a little while, and no one believed that it could ever rise from the ashes. But I could not ignore what my heart and gut were saying. I believed in my products, my company, and my team. I asked myself: What kind of a role model do I want to be for my family and my colleagues? There was only one answer: One that decides to fight one more day. I plodded on, putting my heart and soul into work regardless of the challenges, and my team followed. Edifecs did eventually turn the tide around and we made it through those rough days.
There is no schooling for a CEO. You must listen to your inner voice, follow your courage, and act upon your conviction to come forth. Everybody — CEO or not — is blessed with these ideas, values, and abilities, and can access them whenever life throws a curveball at them.
It is only natural for each one of us to fail before we begin to win. Just hold on.
Think of the big picture
People are often too quick to label themselves as “failures”. Let’s get something straight: failure is not a person. It’s not an entire being; it doesn’t define your life. It’s an episode in one’s life — a bump along the road — and we would do well to avoid using it as a blanket noun for everyone who experiences setbacks or feels they are unable to do better at a point in time (isn’t that each one of us?).
If you seem to have a string of “bad luck” or find yourself in environments that aren’t aligned with your passion and skillset, remember there is always a chance for you to shine and fulfil your potential elsewhere. Use failure as an experience that motivates you, as a learning curve that brings you closer to success. Take a step back and look at the big picture rather than obsessing over a moment of misfortune and blowing your disappointment out of proportion. This can do wonders for your confidence — and your chances of success.
Visualize a roadmap to success
Visualizing a roadmap to success is vital to move on from failure because it allows us to identify the checkpoints that make our journey easier. For instance, long before I started RoundGlass, I had a vision of what my next life project would look like: I wanted to do something fundamentally positive that impacted everyone. It had to be something global in scale, disruptive, revolutionary, and have a direct consequence on human beings. In 2014, I started bringing this vision to life and have since been working on democratizing Wholistic Wellbeing for the world along with my team.
Let go of the negativity bias and use visualization to achieve your goals. Acknowledge your failure and reappraise it as a stepping stone toward growth — it can serve to reinforce what you need to do to achieve your goals or objectives. It will also help you slow down when and where required and course correct or redefine the road you take thereon.
Trust your inner voice and strength
Choosing the right path to move forward from failure is a balancing act between the nuanced study of possible outcomes and going with your gut when necessary. It also requires you to rely heavily on your personal belief system. Whenever faced with a setback, I always take all aspects of a situation into consideration and move forward with actions I really and truly believe in. I also always trust my intuition, instinct, and inner strength.
To avoid overthinking and nurture your confidence in the long run, note down the lessons you learnt from your past mistakes and shortcomings and let them serve as guides. This will help you move upward and onward with the resolve to do better next time. Led by your inner voice and strength be your guide.