You’ve started a new business, job search, project, and you put all of your effort to insure its success.
For various reasons, you close the business doors, stop searching for a job, close out the project without completing it. Then you wonder: what’s next? Is this the end, the sunset of the grand plan? Will you give in to the pressures of those enthusiastic to label you as a “failure,” a “has been,” a “loser?”
I suggest you welcome all of these comments and accept the label as a proud badge of honor. All of them are signs of someone who tried where others hesitated, who believed when others didn’t, who took on an adventure while others watched.
An Entrepreneurship axiom comes to mind from my readings of late:
Failing gracefully is much more important than succeeding!
In other words, how you close out failed attempts, what you learn from them and, most importantly, how you determine to return with more vigor is much more important than not fully achieving all that you set out to gain.
Last year, in early January of 2011 I closed shop on iEngineer.net, the software and project management consultancy with the slogan, “Making the World a Better Place, One Company at a Time.” We were ready to close shop by September of 2010, but we knew the best approach was to properly close out all of our projects, deliver what we’d promised to the remaining customers, and refer them to other service providers who would be able to continue to help them.
That wasn’t an end though. What I learned through my misadventures under iEngineer laid the groundwork for future projects. I learned how I got energized daily from working with non-profits, of the importance of having a cause, of focusing on sales and revenue as a means of solving people’s problems, not just making the numbers, and of the complexity of knowing how to communicate to customers how much I care about solving their problems and making their lives better.
So, the lessons learned lead to another startup, but this time more focused than before. I, along with my two partners, started a non-profit with the goal of “Sniffing Out the Good Stuff” for pets with maladies and their owners who were overwhelmed with the plethora of online information about them. We started CanvasPet.com. The company focuses purely on providing free information and sell products that help people improve their family pet’s lives, and thereby their own. Most importantly, we donate all of our annual profits to other national and local non-profit pet rescue shelters.
The point is you should never give up, especially in the face of failed attempts. Failed companies, job searches, projects are only the fertile grounds for your next success and adventure. Your goal after such events shouldn’t be to stop trying, but to keep trying and refining your approach, using the scientific method, to help you get ever closer to that nirvana, that perfect state where you know exactly what you were meant to do in life and you do it.
So go on. Get out there. Stop reading and start doing, learning and redoing. Enjoy bootstrapping your next business, ideal job, excellent project and spread the word for all else to join you in the ranks.
What Do You Think?
You know what to do. Share your comments below. Don’t be shy. I love hearing and learning from you.