Failure is Necessary
Sometimes people are afraid to dream because they’re afraid to fail, but is failure something we should really be afraid of?
Many years ago, my husband and I published a magazine for a small niche. Arguably considering the niche, it was probably destined for some type of failure right from the beginning. Ramit Sethi wisely suggests there are two things you should strongly consider when launching a new business. Choose a market that is both willing and able to pay. Unfortunately our market lacked a substantial amount of people who were either. And in the end, that and other factors impacted the long-term viability of the magazine, so we bailed.
For two of those years while we published the magazine, we incurred a significant amount of debt. With financial security being near the top of my list of ‘must haves’, it was challenging to say the least. In my estimation, at times, I felt like we failed … How can one call something a success if there’s no sustainability and more losses than profit?
To me, it was failure…
what a lot of people who dream dreams are afraid of.
But the truth is, at least from my experience, failure isn’t really what it seems. Now on the other side of that whole experience, I can appreciate that it was never really about success and failure, as it was a journey through trial and error. I remember clearly before launching that magazine having this strong sense that it was going to be a stepping stone. And it was! Because from that experience, we gained knowledge, we gained experience and we grew a lot as people. We made some really fruitful relationships and we learned more about ourselves. That magazine was the catalyst to us establishing our design business. And even that business came with its failures, but those challenges pointed to more opportunity that led to even greater knowledge and experience than the last—and we were able to sustain ourselves better. To be honest, I’m really grateful that the magazine didn’t end up the way we imagined because we wouldn’t be where we are now.
But this isn’t some pie in the sky story about how when you live through the error you get to taste success. Although, it’s true, there’s an even sweeter ending because we got to taste success in the midst of the trial. I don’t know if you got to read my earlier post about my financial situation and having to dip into my travel funds while we waited for a lag in projects to pass. It’s been tight, the kind of tight that years ago I wouldn’t enjoy. And many, many years before that, I wouldn’t have been experiencing while in my 9-5 job. But yet, I still don’t regret leaving, even after over a decade of ups and downs. Why? A couple weeks ago, in the midst of that ‘trying’ time, I boarded a plane to sunny Arizona and was treated pretty lavishly. We stayed at a beautiful resort shared with David Beckham’s soccer team, enjoyed NCAA games and PGA tournaments and ate incredible meals on someone else’s dime. And as amazing as all that was, the best part of it was spending time with people I would consider more as really good friends than clients. We appreciate and value them tremendously, and to know they share our sentiments enough to do that for us is amazing.
Loss brings out our truest self – Danielle Laporte
Sure sometimes when you try, it may not go well…but those experiences help to mold and shape you. And beyond that, you’ve got to try and fail with some in order to find the ones that matter. It’s necessary. When you go after your dreams full throttle, inevitably you become more of yourself. People sense that passion and they value it. The beautiful thing is, you get to love being you more, and they get to love that about you. And the tight times don’t feel all that tight anymore, and even ‘failure’ gets a little glimmer about it.