Give Yourself Permission to Fail

Give Yourself Permission to Fail

In the not-so-distant past, I nearly gave up.

Some recent marketing efforts had not gone as planned. I felt like a failure because of these failing marketing campaigns.

And while I’m usually a glass-half-full, rose-colored-glasses-wearing, at times overly optimistic person, I let myself fall into self-pity and doubt.

I forgot to mention that every business, regardless of its success, has failed marketing campaigns and failed product launches. This is amidst a series of (very natural) valleys and peaks.

(Even professional athletes who have million-dollar contracts get home runs only 30% of the time; why should we expect to be home runs 100% of the way in our businesses?

To top it all off, I felt guilty about feeling these feelings of self-doubt and worry. They were distracting me from my daily tasks, and I felt guilty. I felt guilty for having them in the first instance.

It was a roller-coaster ride full of emotions.

Do you know what I did?

I gave up.

I also gave up the notion that my business had to be perfect 100% of the time. Contrary to what you may believe, there is no one-size-fits-all path to success. Each person is on a different approach to entrepreneurship, and each journey involves a lot of trial and error. There are some shortcuts that may help you, but there are also proven methods that work well for most people. You have to find what works for your needs and be open to the possibility of not getting it right every time.

These are tips I discovered helpful in the “valleys” of my business. I hope they will prove beneficial to you. These home remedies will help you feel better the next time you are feeling down.

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1) Take a step back.

Sometimes, the best way to get out of your business is to take a break for a few hours or even a whole day. The last time I was feeling self-doubtful, I decided to get rid of my to-do lists (which are not easy for me to complete). I took the afternoon off. After reading a few chapters of Mark Victor Hansen’s inspirational book, I took my daughter to the park. The fresh air, sunshine, and good company made a huge difference. My head was clear, and I felt less anxious, more relaxed, and ready for the next day.

2) Feel the frustration.

We are programmed to suppress “negative” emotions so that when they creep up, we either ignore them or push them down. These feelings can fester beneath the surface and eventually explode in our faces. This goes back to childhood when the “Big boys (or girls) don’t cry!” message was a common one. We are taught to be tough and not allow things to bother us. My 4-year-old daughter is just as guilty of her tantrums. She had one meltdown about what she wore to preschool this week. Everything was too long, too short, or too large. And, frankly, I was getting just as frustrated as her. After a few deep breaths, I realized that telling her to pick something was only making matters worse. I then invited her to lie down on my lap and let her cry. I stroked her back, told her it was okay to feel frustrated, that it was OK to call, and encouraged her to let her emotions out. My surprise was that her sobs turned to silence much faster than I expected. Before I knew it, she was asking me if I could draw a picture. After getting rid of all her frustrations, she was ready for bigger and better things. This is because we all desire to be understood and validated, even by ourselves. You may be amazed at how quickly you can move on if you take the time to recognize your emotions and express frustrations.

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3. Give yourself permission for failure.

Every little thing that goes wrong can be a blow to my self-esteem and cause me to question the work I do. You know what? It’s OK to ask yourself questions from time to time. Sometimes, even the most minor “failures” can lead to significant, life-altering a-has. A group program you launched was not registered. Ouch. Instead of giving up on group programs altogether, learn from your mistakes and improve the next time. Maybe you didn’t allow yourself enough time for marketing. Perhaps the timing wasn’t right. There could be a million reasons why things don’t go according to plan. Here’s a tip: Try to think of a time when things were going well for you, and then make a list of the reasons you believe they did. Write down all the factors that contributed to your success, such as if you launched another program that was well-received. Did you spend more one-on-one time with potential registrants than usual? Did you send out more email marketing? Did the sales page and/or title seem more compelling? Did it take place on a different day/time that was more convenient for your clients? You can think of two things you did well. It gives you ideas for next time and gives you an instant boost. This is the end of the story, but not the end of the world.

You will face failures, self-doubt, and uncertainty in your business. This is a fact that everyone experiences. You can “fail” when you do. Then, get up and start over again the next day.

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Tammi Metzler is the Chief Copywriter of MagneticWriting.com and founded it. She will host a web summit for women entrepreneurs to boost their businesses. So that biz owners can learn how to make their own success, she gathered 10 of the most successful women entrepreneurs.