Mistakes are good

Failure is good for you and for your business. If you’re not making mistakes you’re being too careful, haven’t really stretched yourself or 'pushed the envelope' nearly hard enough. If you are not making mistakes-you are not growing-either personally or in business. It means you are not learning! As the old adage says: “learn from your mistakes!” To achieve in any endeavour, you need to take risks, and taking risks means occasionally failing.

Of course, you want to avoid costly mistakes. I love this definition of stupidity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Mistakes are part and parcel of being successful... I’m living proof!

Success in business is all part of taking yourself out of your comfort zone and seeking to develop new abilities and expertise. It could be a big sale, the start of a new venture or opportunity, or a new business challenge. But all failures will help you learn more about the business you’re in, and help you build confidence, which leads to future success. You learn, you grow, you progress. But remember, the more you succeed it is likely that you will also have your fair share of failures, setbacks and disappointments. However, it’s what you learn from these setbacks that determines how you move on. And moving on is the key!

The vital thing is to learn from mistakes and move on. That’s what makes successful people successful; they make mistakes all the time, but they learn and move on. Failure doesn’t stop them achieving their goals.

Most successful people failed early on. They struggled to reach their goals. Walt Disney was fired from his first job because he was told he wasn’t creative enough. Fortunately he didn’t listen. Einstein couldn’t progress pass the rank of Patent Examiner-2nd Class! He went onto become arguably the greatest mind of the 20th century. The point is that our fear of failure is what stops most of us: don’t be so hard on yourself, be patient, take the time that success needs, adjust to your failures and learn from them.

Don’t expect that once you’re successful you won’t make anymore mistakes, because you will. Plan to make them, because that’s how you continue to be successful.

Keep in mind that today’s successful companies would not be there if they’d continued pursuing business strategies that weren’t successful. Also remember that today’s Fortune 500 list is very different to what it was 20 years, or even 10 years ago. Even big companies fail, or merge, or their product becomes irrelevant. There are many reasons as to why the business landscape is continuously evolving. One of the key ones is the role that entrepreneurs and other risk takers play in shaping new business opportunities. Inevitably, they will make mistakes along the way. BUT, these pioneers have the single-mindedness, confidence and self-belief to push through.

What then makes a successful company? In my experience, a successful company is one with visionary leaders who provide an environment that encourages people to ‘have a go’, where success is rewarded and celebrated and learning and personal development is promoted and enacted - not just talked about. Conversely the hallmarks of a failing business are poor/ineffective management practices and a tendency to keep making the same mistakes repeatedly until it is too late.

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