Women in the Business Arena™ EP126: Building Real Skills and Embracing the Gifts of Failure

“That is the gift of failure. Failing things means that we get to revisit, and we get to reflect, and we get to ask, ‘Why is it that this didn’t work?’ And what I have found is that many professionals that have hit these moments that feel like complete failure and identity crisis, they found that, well, of course it wasn’t working, because it wasn’t aligned. What they were doing wasn’t working because it wasn’t meant to work. They didn’t need to go that path. The failure was a reset moment.” – Laura Shook-Guzman

Have you ever made a big mistake in your business? Like taking on a client who you knew wasn’t the right fit, and they ended up being a nightmare. Maybe you sunk $50k into a marketing plan that didn’t work at all. Or maybe your innovative idea was too early for your market and flopped. 

If you’ve done any of the above – or made any other kind of business mistake – you’re not alone. And you’re doing just fine. 

“I think that so often we go into business, we leap into it, and we’re so focused on success, and succeeding, and living our best life, and all of the mastery that comes with business. And we don’t often give ourselves the space or the permission to fail, to fall, to have to try again, to practice, to build skills over time. So often we’re asked to be perfect from the beginning.” – Sonya Stattmann

Failure is a natural part of business, as any entrepreneur knows. It’s never easy, but failure can often be our most impactful and informative teacher. 

But for many of us, we’re trained from a young age to fear failure, and to find ways around it (rather than through it). Our whole society is set up this way – so it’s no wonder there are so many entrepreneurs out there who are looking for (and selling!) tactics and quick-fixes rather than taking the time to build deep skills over time. 

This week’s episode is on failure and skill-building and a different approach to business that really resonates with both Laura and I. We talk about how and why we learned to fear failure and the freedom we gained when we learned to embrace the gifts failure gives us. We also discuss the sense of identity that many of us build around striving, achievement, and perfection, and why this lets us down when we inevitably stumble or burn out. And we discuss a more accepting attitude toward failure that gives us space to breathe, grow, and experiment.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why we should learn actual entrepreneurship skills instead of focusing on business hacks and tactics that promise quick or easy growth. 
  • How we’ve learned from failures in our businesses and come back as stronger entrepreneurs.
  • What we learn about failure as children that affect our ability to cope with setbacks as adults (and especially as business owners).
  • Why so many of us build our identity around perfection and striving.
  • What failure can offer us if we give ourselves permission to make mistakes and keep moving forward.

Resources for this Episode:

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