Rob Moore’s podcast is always an excellent source of information and guidance, and today’s talk on failure was no exception.
If you are a businessman or woman and your organisation has failed and been made bankrupt then – in the same way that failed past relationships affect new ones – your previous experiences are likely to be haunting you.
It might be that you’re worried about reputation, afraid that no one will want to work with you now because they know about what has happened in the past. It may be that you’re afraid to approach a bank in case they refuse to lend you money or help you start again.
It is the same as with your relationships. You might thank that things will turn out the same as they have done before. You notice traits in your new partner that were present in the past, and you worry that it’s a signal of bad things to come.
You start to doubt things and, before long, you’re avoiding new relationships or poisoning good ones out of a fear that something could go wrong. In short, you’re causing issues before issues have had a chance to breed themselves.
The truth is that all of these things are fixable, in business and in relationships. There are hundreds of examples of successful people with dark and rocky pasts, people who have overcome adversity to rise to the top and then stay there. Lots of people even say that hitting rock bottom was the best thing that happened to them.
The secret is this: you need to separate yourself from the past. You are in a different place and, although things might feel similar, you are not just destined to fail.
Too often people assume that the past dictates the future; they worry that their failures in the past are doomed to be repeated. It simply isn’t true. Bad students can improve, bad relationships can be forgotten, and bad businesses can turn into great ones.
People often forget that many now-ubiquitous products and businesses have had a long way to travel. Apple’s iPad was not popular for years, people had to catch up to that technology. Pixar nearly went bankrupt several times before its success with films like Toy Story rocketed it to the absolute pinnacle of the film industry. Sometimes time and sometimes luck play a part in your success – don’t assume that there’s always someone or something to blame.
Yes, it can be worth remembering what happened in the past, and many amazing businesses do.
Remember the past to remember the lessons that you’ve learnt. Remember what you did and what you do now instead. Play to your strengths and let yourself move away from the failures of the past. Practice and work, put in the effort and learn from past mistakes and you can achieve what you want to achieve.
If all success was guaranteed, then everyone would already be where they wanted to be. It isn’t. Sometimes it takes one, two, even three failures before you get where you need to get. Don’t forget it.
Be confident in yourself. If you fail, don’t blame, just learn. When you succeed, don’t get overconfident and learn from that too.
At all times keep thinking: start, stop, keep – whether you succeed or fail, bear these three words in mind.
Start – what do we need to do now?
Stop – what should we stop doing?
Keep – what has worked and what should we keep?
Test, tweak, review, repeat.