Today as part of the discussion around good mental health and our businesses for #mentalhealthawarenessweek I’m raising the lid on failure and how bouncing back can also be highly dependent on our mental state.
I’ve had a fair share of disappointments in my working life, and since I’ve run my own business – a course that didn’t sell very well, clients that I hoped I was helping and didn’t get the results we’d hoped for, things not working.
Over time I’ve seen that it’s not about avoiding mistakes, hoping there won’t be failures, expecting success (Ever! Immediately! Any time!) but all about knowing we will go wrong, we will make mistakes, we will fail – sometimes small amounts, sometimes epic proportions – and understanding that’s normal and that we can ‘bounce back’.
This isn’t about expecting the worst and hoping for the best. It’s actually the most counter productive thing we can do – it’s aiming for amazing and being ok if it’s not.
But clearly, those of us who feel or are more resilient will cope much better with this than those of us who are not, and how resilient we feel will be dependent on so, so many things.
Maybe we’re HSPs, or maybe we used all of our savings on a course that we hoped would bring us the elixir, or maybe we put all our life into a project to the detriment of our personal life so failure would seem doubly worse.
Clearly the background of what’s happening to us on top of any failure (perceived or actual) will impact our feelings about the things going wrong.
Perhaps we’re mentally unwell too – we’re not able to cope with more negative feedback (from ourselves more than anything) or another way to remind ourselves that we’re not very good, and our beliefs are simply being confirmed. Maybe we have anxiety and this feeds our fear.
Gosh I’m making this sound fun aren’t I?
What I’m aiming for though is to have us, you, see that there will be many factors that feed into our ability to feel good in our businesses. Sometimes it’s more about perceived, relative failure too, rather than actual, factual failure.
And our mental state and feelings of wellness and security feed right back into our ability to think positively and aim for good, big or amazing outcomes in our business.
Thus, getting to a place where we feel we can manage the two is essential – if we love our business, we need to get used to the idea that it won’t go well all the time.
If we can start to care for ourselves alongside it, we’ll start to feel we can manage and cope with differing outcomes too – we can weather the storm better, and stay sturdy.
Equally, we can crumble if we need to, in exactly the right way for us (what I mean by that is we can do it in a way that feels safe to us, even if we feel vulnerable).
So how to manage failure and know you’re still great at being you, great at your business, great as you are?
- Read ‘How to Fail’
- Collate your beliefs about yourself that tell you why you won’t succeed and make attempts to look at what alternatives might be true
- Read other business owners stories of failure and how they manage it (see my series here)
- Talk to other business owners in person – in private if you need – and ask them about their last disappointment – you’ll be surprised about what you hear, I bet
- Keep you ultimate goals in mind – how can you reach them without compromising your mental state too much?
- Change your ultimate goals if they’re impacting you too much – know that you have more flexibility in this than you might first feel – you’re running your own thing right, so make it work more for you where possible
- Ask someone you trust to help you unpick what you’re feeling – even if it’s informal
- Ask someone formally if they can help you unpick it – I know asking for help isn’t as easy as it seems or feels, so I realise that’s tough. But if you’d like guidance on how or where to ask for help, DM me on Instagram or email me and I’ll share what I can. I often know a range of support services that might work, although of course you know I’m not an emergency service. And if I think I can help I’ll let you know that too.