Sometimes We Fail – But it’s a Good Thing. (Really)

Have you ever failed at something you tried? Although most of us hate when we don’t live up to the standards we set for ourselves, sometimes failure can point us to areas we could have performed better. Also, admitting failure gives us a chance to truly capture it as an opportunity for growth.

Several years ago I tried to start a weekly dance class followed by a social hour – and it didn’t go too well. Ok. It was terrible. BUT I learned some things:

  1. The owner of the establishment pushed me to start the classes before I was ready.  I should have specified a date and stuck to my guns. Or better yet, I should have waited to present the plan until I was absolutely ready to go for it.
  2. We did a HORRIBLE job of marketing the classes. At the time my network wasn’t very big, and I wasn’t utilizing social media. We assumed people would see the posters and just show up. Which leads me to my next fatal flaw:
  3. I had an explanation problem. My partner didn’t really understand what we were doing with the classes.  Were the classes for older people?  Were they classes for those with no experience?  Were they for people looking for an alternative way to exercise? I didn’t give her any concrete ideas because we thought we could be something for everybody. WRONG. The classes were promoted to the wrong groups, and my partner was turning away people that should have been there.
  4. And finally – the hardest one of all: I was working with someone that did not respect my work. And I allowed them to steamroll me, which further reinforced their perception of me. You know whose fault that is? MINE. I didn’t sell my value and my expertise. It put me in a position of weakness, and once you are in that spot, it is almost impossible to change.

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My takeaway? I could have avoided most of this by having a clear definition of my offering, my goals, and my value at jump. Now when I have an idea, I spend a little extra time working through what it is (and conversely what it is not), how it will be marketed and if I’m prepared to launch – before meeting with a client or partner.  Instead of wallowing in the memory of failure it sparks me to bring my A game every single time.

Do you have a failure story that sets you up for success? I’d love to hear it!

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