My parents taught me from an early age that I could learn some of life’s greatest lessons from historical figures and how they reacted to personal challenges. World War II was known as The Great War in Great Britain and Winston Churchill offered some advice gleaned from his role as Prime Minister of England during the War. He said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” Perhaps the major challenge entrepreneurs face today is learning how to treat failure as a blessing instead of a curse.
As the Director of Real Estate Education at Response, I am acutely aware of the fear of failure that many real estate entrepreneurs face as they embark on a new venture. What is most important to remember is that failure is in fact the seed of success. It is a key element in helping us grow, and failure allows us the opportunity to evaluate our personal progress. If it is so helpful, why then, do we fear failure so much? Each of us has an ego. When we fail in any way, we experience shame of some kind. When we learn to overcome the “ego trip” associated with failure, we are well on our way towards eliminating or minimizing the fear of failure.
The first thing we need to realize is that failure is a natural part of the success process. Thomas Edison failed thousands of times in learning how to harness the power of the light bulb. Once he succeeded, he stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you are starting a career in real estate investing, you will find some things that don’t work immediately for you. Some people will call these things failures, but I see them as simple steps toward your ultimate success. Remember that Response has an extensive library of training, resources, and strategies that can help you on your way towards success.
Overcoming the fear of failure is a worthwhile goal, but it is also a difficult thing to accomplish when starting a new venture. I’ve found that there are some simple strategies to eliminate the fear of failure. Remember we are not going to eliminate all failure, but rather we are finding a way to dispel the fear associated with it.
- Strategy 1 – Don’t focus on future failures. When you start thinking about future mistakes as permanent failures, you will do nothing. When this happens, you will regret having done nothing at all. If you spend your time thinking about the failure taking place, you will soon wallow in negativity.
- Strategy 2 – Become a positive person. Think, act, and speak positive thoughts about your goals and objectives. When you encounter a setback or small failure, look for ways to turn the failure into a learning experience. Visualize yourself turning the experience into a great success.
- Strategy 3 – Stay focused on your goal. Unless you are committed to achieving your goal, the natural tendency is to do nothing at all. When this happens, you often move away from your goal and put off correcting mistakes.
- Strategy 4 – Trust your abilities. Don’t be afraid of making a mistake. None of us is perfect and mistakes are part of the process of achieving success. Trust your ability to learn from mistakes.
- Strategy 5 – Build on past failures. Since we all experience failures, use them as building blocks for a successful future. Review past failures and analyze how to correct the mistakes. Don’t, however, spend time thinking about how the failure made your life worse. You must stay positive when doing any evaluation of past failures.
Yes, failure hurts, and as human beings we spend time trying to avoid failures of all kinds. However, failure can be life’s greatest teacher when we adopt the attitude of Arnold Palmer who said, “The road to success is always under construction.” It is up to you to decide whether your future is one filled with hope and achievement or despair and inaction. Success is not final and failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.