Thursday, January 5, 2012

Savvy Entrepreneur: Embracing Failure

Happy New Year!

I love that feeling of turning a corner that the New Year brings. I know it's only psychological, but I truly do feel I have a fresh new outlook and sort of second chance. For me this year will be about facing fears and embracing failure. I am scared and exhilarated and I hope the feeling lasts all year long.

First a confession: I am a perfectionist. While much of the time my attention to detail serves me well it can also hold me back. I want to know everything I can before I jump into any project. I want to fit all pieces into place before I call something done. And most importantly I want to know I'll succeed before I try anything new.

This year will be different. I'm going to try to fail. I am going to fight my tendencies and jump into things without having all the knowledge. Don't worry I have a good reason for this. First it's because I suspect in the long run I'll accomplish more, both good and bad, but will certainly have a sense of forward movement that I feel last year lacked. I also suspect that by embracing failure I'll not only learn more, but might actually fail less. If I get an idea and put it into action without over thinking I'll begin to see results, good or bad much quicker. If I'm not getting the results I want I can tweak my idea and make changes just as quickly. Chances are very few will ever notice that there was a period of time where my idea wasn't working.

However the biggest reason for setting myself on a path to failure, actively trying to make mistakes, big mistakes, is that I'll truly begin to see that it's really not such a bad thing. I will know first hand that I can recover, that most people don't notice, that the world doesn't stop. I'll be less afraid in the future.

So while you may not be ready to actively try to fail I do encourage you to face your fears. Here's a little trick to make it easier. Imagine that thing you're afraid of - launching a new product, cutting your day job down to part-time, approaching retail shops. Imagine the absolute worst case scenario. If every bad thing you can imagine in relation to your fear were to happen what would it look like? I suspect it's really not all that bad. I suspect you could easily get out of the situation with only a few bruises and scrapes. By imagining your worst case fears you take away their power, you see they're not really that bad. You might even be able to see a way to avoid them entirely and still face your fear.

So here's to a year full of cuts, scrapes, bruises and failure! May we all brush ourselves off gracefully and walk away smiling.

What are your biggest fears for the year to come?

I encourage comments directly to this post, but also feel free to email me directly with questions, reactions, struggles, etc. genevieve [at] lightboxsf [dot] com

If you're an Etsy seller in the San Francisco Bay Area, contact Jen from Mama's Magic Studio about joining SFEtsy!

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