Successful entrepreneurs build their businesses from failures large and small. As Yvette Aloe knows, failures set back everyone from infants to experienced professionals. Those who succeed have profited from mistakes.
Aloe is a certified life coach, speaker, founder, and strategist of The Global Village Hub, which specializes in business growth consulting, graphic design, web design, and marketing, along with business, sales and executive coaching.
That’s a handful for any entrepreneur with many potential failure points. Aloe keeps that and other miscues in mind – even going back to her initial failure in school.
“My first encounter with failure was when I failed a whole semester in varsity. Yup, an entire semester,” she said, the experience still stinging. “Failure is when you don’t meet the expectations that you set for yourself or those of others. What gutted me was not meeting the expectations of my parents.
“I felt disappointed with myself, played out all the scenarios of how I could have done better,” Aloe said. “A big part of it was thinking of how I would communicate to others that I ‘failed’ was devastating.”
She considered how to create a culture that allows people to embrace failure.
“Remove the word ‘failure’ from our vocabulary,” Aloe said. “There is essentially no such thing as failure. There is only feedback. We only learn this notion of failure when we start growing older.
“For example, take a baby learning to walk,” she said. “No one goes to babies when they fall and says, ‘I don’t think walking is for you,’ or ‘Look at your friends. They are already walking, and you are here crawling.’ No matter how often babies fall, they get up and try again.”
Society plays important roles in good times and bad.
“We can create a culture of embracing failure by not only rewarding people only when they win but by supporting them when they ‘fail,’” Aloe said. “Failure encourages innovation. It allows us to improve our ideas and who we are, to learn from our mistakes. Failure is a good thing.
“Essentially, we learn more from failure than we do from success,” she said.
How failure is treated depends on vision.
“Imagine we lived in a world where the word failure did not exist,” Aloe said. “How many people would still get up and just learn from their experiences? How many more people will go for their dreams? There is no failure. There is only feedback.”
That leads to how entrepreneurs should fully embrace and welcome failure.
“I learn from my mistakes and look at the situation,” Aloe said. “I ask myself what can I do differently to get the results I want. I know there is a way to do it. I just need to find it. I know I will be better on the other side of an experience of failure.
“Failure is necessary for us to get better,” she said. “We need to understand that and stop beating ourselves down over it.”
Even in the last year, Aloe had setbacks and bounced back.
“Failure taught me I do not need to know everything,” she said. “It’s OK to ask and get help when I feel stuck, to ask others who have achieved what I want to achieve for help.
“It also taught me resilience as an entrepreneur,” Aloe said. “You get to hear and know a lot. Failure helped me improve my business strategy. It showed me that what I was doing was not working. Now I have an even better business strategy than before. My vision is bigger and better.”
Failure also serves as a handy reminder.
“It will help you dig deep and remember why you started in the first place,” Aloe said. “When we don’t dwell on it but on the lessons, we can learn from it. We unleash our full potential.”
Those who have the best results treat failure as a stepping stone.
“We turn failure into success by focusing on where we can improve,” Aloe said. “Make sure you get all your learnings. You have already seen what doesn’t work. Dedicate yourself toward finding what works.
“Failure also grants you the opportunity to be innovative,” she said. “Play around with different solutions. Don’t base your sense of self-worth on the outcome. Know that you are enough even when you fail.”
Visionary business owners look on every day as the start of a new year.
“My advice to entrepreneurs is that you already know what does not work,” Aloe said. “Now try something different. Fail fast and fail forward. We learn more from failure than we do from success.
“Don’t base your self-worth on the outcome of your business,” she said. “No matter how much you fail, know that you are enough and keep trusting the process. Your hard work will pay off.”