Failure is often viewed as the opposite of success, and when time, money, and resources are on the line – stress can quickly set in. However, entrepreneurs and business leaders would be wise to consider a less black and white definition of failure, since it is a part of every business journey, especially during the first five years.
Author Bryant McGill said, “A person who makes few mistakes, makes little progress.” So let’s consider qualifiable terms. Failure is perceived when your business does not meet a desirable or intended outcome. Although your action or decision may have caused the failure, you, as a person, are not a failure.
1. Unplug and get moving
Running a business can be fulfilling and emotionally challenging, all at the same time. Perhaps, your perfect dream has hit some bumps in the road. Maybe you lost money, and now you’re feeling defeated, depressed, or scared.
Take some time to process your feelings around your last business failure. Unplug from social media, remove distractions, and face your emotions. What you acknowledge can be processed and released. Walk, run, cry, scream, or yell, etc. Release the emotions related to that failure through some type of movement activity to avoid stressing the mind and body out. The world needs you healthy.
At times we can replay a narrative in our mind that isn’t factual and far from the truth. With a clear mind, begin to write down exactly what happened and answer these questions:
- What was my expected outcome?
- What was the actual outcome?
- What type of planning did I do to support my expected outcome?
- What lessons have I learned?
3. Center and ground
Once you are clear on what happened and how it happened, the next question is: Why did it happen? I don’t have the answer, but you do.
Consider a simple breathing exercise to center and ground yourself. Emotions can steer you all over the place, so centering and grounding is very important.
Settle into stillness in a seated or lying down position, soften your gaze or close your eyes, and bring your attention to your breath. Do a few rounds of balanced breathing. Breathe in for four counts and exhale for four counts. Set aside time to do five rounds or more.
This breathing exercise may assist in relieving stress and promote a sense of calm and relaxation when processing the outcome.
4. Set your intention
With lessons learned written and a clear mind, now it’s time to set a clear intention for your next project. An intention is an aim or plan. You may not have the whole plan laid out, but you can start with an intention to pace yourself. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint.
It may seem like meditation is a fruitless effort, but it’s not. We all meditate (i.e., focus attention) by pondering and focusing our minds on a variety of things every day. Even worrying is a negative form of meditation.
Instead, focus on a more positive form such as mindfulness meditation, which is fundamentally “self-regulating attention toward the immediate present moment and adopting an orientation marked by curiosity, openness, and acceptance.” Some even describe “mindfulness as including five key components: non-reactivity, observing, acting with awareness, describing, and non-judging.”
In his book, Mindfulness for Creativity: Adapt, create and thrive in a frantic world, author Danny Penman claims that mindfulness meditation opens your mind to new ideas, improves attention and nurtures courage and resilience when dealing with setbacks.
Sherrell Moore-Tucker is a consultant and wellness educator who specializes in conscious leadership training and stress management. Drawing upon ten years of experience teaching yoga and meditation, and 13 years of leadership training, Sherrell offers wellness and leadership training. Her mission is to help leaders live well, and lead more effectively with their mind, body, and spirit intact. Sherrell is a military veteran who holds a Master’s degree in Human Resources Administration and has expertise in labor and employee relations, emotional intelligence, leadership training, diversity and unconscious bias, yoga, and meditation.
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