Years ago, when I thought I wanted to open a farm to table restaurant, before it was fashionable, my dad and I were talking about the incredible risk I was about to undertake. He shared how proud he was of me for pursuing what I was passionate about and that one of the things he regretted was not going out on his own to start his business. He let his fear of the possibility of his business not succeeding stop him from starting.
Experiencing failure is scary and sometimes even messy. It feels like the world might come crashing in at any moment. Life as you know it will be forever altered… and not in a good way. Let’s be real – you might fail at some point in your life, and you may experience loss. The key here is to not let the fear of failure trip you up. Often, the worry of loss or the unknown keeps the average person from following their dreams.
A year after that conversation with my dad and about $15,000.00 later I walked away from the dream of owning a restaurant. If you were to calculate all the hours I put into the planning of this restaurant (business plan, menu design, hiring contractors, etc.), you might say it looked like a huge failure and complete waste of time. However, without the experiences I had, I wouldn’t have the business I have now.
The time and money I put into the restaurant that didn’t happen taught me more about business than any school or formal education could. Yes, I lost money. Yes, I don’t have the thing I wanted, but what I gained has helped me build my life in a way I wouldn’t have thought possible. I look at not having a restaurant as one of the biggest opportunities I have had in my life.
I have known ridiculously brilliant people who have made and lost millions of dollars in their business. They decided not to let circumstance keep them from moving forward. They figured out what they needed to do differently, learned from their failure and came out stronger and smarter on the other side.
I have also watched other entrepreneurs not make investments in their business they knew positively would help them grow or expand because they “didn’t have the money”. This mindset frequently keeps them stuck in the same place of never quite getting ahead.
The truth is, regardless of what you do, no matter how much you plan or strategize, you are going to fail.
The truth is that even if you lose everything, you can rebuild it.
The truth is that every failure will open you up for even more opportunity.
The truth is that no matter what you think you may lose or what might be at risk, the regret of not trying is often much larger.
The question becomes, who will you be?
The person who lays it on the line? The person that works towards their biggest dream and is willing to take a consciously calculated risk and do what’s necessary to achieve it? Or the person who continues to play it safe in their comfort zone?