Successful Entrepreneurs Make Mistakes To Discover New Approaches, Opportunities And Business Models

“To me success can be achieved only through repeat failure and introspection”     – Soichiro Honda, Founder of Honda Motor Company

Unfortunately too many firms I worked for motivated performance with fear of failure. Their attitude was that it better be perfect the first time. But I have learned over the years that failure is part of the learning process.

In the Harvard Business Review Peter Sims agrees. In The No. 1 Enemy of Creativity: Fear of Failure, Sims observes that many MBA-trained executives are never given permission to fail and industrial management is mostly built on mitigating risks and preventing errors, not innovating or inventing. Yet Darden Professor Saras Sarasvathy has shown through her research that successful entrepreneurs make decisions by making lots of mistakes to discover new approaches, opportunities, or business models.

The way you handle failure is the corner stone of success. Having no room for failure means you have no room for progress. In another HBR article, Whitney Johnson advises how to Put Failure in It’s Place. Johnson says, “Implicit in daring to disrupt the status quo is daring to fail. As we learn by doing and do by learning something will eventually (and inevitably) not work.” How do we not let failure take us down?

  1. Acknowledge sadness: Grieving is an important part of the process. If you suppress sadness, you risk losing your passion, which is the essential engine of innovation.
  2. Jettison shame: Failure doesn’t limit innovation – shame does. Pull shame out of the process to gain the lift you need to get back to daring and dreaming.
  3. Learn the right lesson: What valuable truth did you discover by failing? The lesson isn’t to never pursue a dream again, but to gain valuable insights that will help the next idea succeed.

The difference between winners and losers is winners have accepted failure, learned from it and move on. Losers never enter the game for fear of failure or the first failure stops them dead in their tracks. Need more proof? Here is a list of famous failures turned success by Business Insider:

  • Walt Disney was told a mouse would never work.
  • J.K. Rowling was on welfare.
  • Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for T.V.”
  • Jerry Seinfeld was booed off-stage.
  • Sidney Poitier was told to become a dishwasher.
  • Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school three times.
  • The Beatles were dropped by their record label.
  • Steven King received 30 rejections for “Carrie.”
  • Michael Jordan was cut form his high school basketball team.
  • Steve Jobs was removed from the company he started.

Failure isn’t time to stop, it’s time to learn. Anything worth having is not easy. Join the winners that own their failures and learn from it. The reality of our world today is we all must be lifelong learners. Are you not allowing yourself to fail and limiting your future success?

More Information On Information Overload

Ah, the age old debate. Is Google making us dumber? Business Week started this debate in 2007. But Excite was actually one of the first search engines that went online in December 1995. And its not really about Google or Excite, Its about having access to too much information. A lot of it is shallow and unmeaning trying to generate traffic or cover yourself or simple copy and paste or pass along because it is so easy to hit that forward button.

Its not simply about access. This is pushy information. Did your good old fashion encyclopedia ever crawl off the shelf and attack you with alerts, requests, posts, updates, FYIs, RSS feeds? Real inboxes from Staples had a physical limit! This can all lead to information overload.

To study and raise awareness about the problem, interested parties from the corporate and academic worlds recently created the Information Overload Research Group. Much of the problem stems from the snippets of information that seem to constantly bombard and interrupt us. The nonprofit Information Overload Research Group is supported by Basex, Inc. which put together a report titled “Information Overload: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us.” The following are among the tips that are included in the report:

– Set aside time for email each day to keep it from backing up.

– Turn email notification off in your email program to prevent yourself from being repeatedly interrupted as new emails arrive.

– Read the entire thread of any email or discussion group message before responding to ensure you’re responding to the latest points made and not providing information that has already been provided.

– When possible, send a message that’s only a subject line so recipients don’t have to open the email, ending the subject line with <EOM>, the acronym for End of Message.

– Don’t email someone and then immediately follow up with an instant message or phone call.

– When possible, restrict individual emails to a single request or theme.

– Make sure that the subject line of any email clearly reflects both the topic of the message and its urgency.

– Read your own emails before sending them to make sure they will be clear to others, recognizing that typed words can often be misleading in tone and intent.

– Don’t burden colleagues with unnecessary email, especially one-word replies such as “Thanks!” or “Great!” that are sent to the entire group that received the initial email.

– Be patient with an instant message that doesn’t get an instant response, and make it clear when you’re busy or away and can’t respond immediately.

– Supply all relevant details in any communication rather than assuming that recipients have the necessary information.

Are you ready to tackle Information Overload Syndrome?