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Read me like a book by starting at the beginning

Don’t Be Afraid To Admit Failure

Date - 12 July 2017/ Category - Volume 2
Volume 2

By the time I was 25 I was flat broke, worse than broke, but even then I couldn’t admit failure.

My friends at the time knew I was struggling, I even leaned on some to help me out in my hours of need with things like rent, food or even just to pay the odd bill and some felt I leaned on them too much, but luckily I always manged to repay them, even if it took a lot longer than planned.

Even in my hours of need I couldn’t admit I had failed. I couldn’t do it because I had achieved so many great things, that the only thing left to do was make some actual profit and that one goal for ever eluded me.

With hindsight I can see now how no matter how hard I worked back then I was always doomed to fail because the industry I naively chose at 21 needed serious economies of scale to be profitable and a small start-up just couldn’t compete.

Then something happened, I became a dad and my perspective changed. Without admitting defeat I left the business I had started and moved to a different country taking the first job I could just to put food on the table for my little girl.

The job wasn’t rewarding and it certainly didn’t utilise the skill set I had built up over the course of my self-employed life but it did leave me with money in the bank at the end of the month and that was something I quite simply had never had before.

It might seem odd to an outsider but entrepreneurs, despite paying their staff well can be poor because there simply isn’t any money left for them and sadly we have to admit that having no money is failure, even if we don’t want to.

(For reference I’m not talking about having a little bit of money as a failure, there are plenty of happy people with only a few penny’s to their name; I’m talking about having nothing at all!)

When I left the business I loved to go and work for someone else I was damaged goods, depressed from years of over work and lack of reward. I had considered suicide on several occasions. I was angry and had a short fuse.

People don’t realise the stress that entrepreneurs go through, but if I had admitted defeat earlier then the damage done (hair loss, paranoia, wrinkles etc) would have been slightly less.
Now you might think that at 25 I admitted defeat and turned my life around but that’s not the case. It took me a further 5 years to realise I had failed at 25. Not just to admit it to myself but to talk about it openly to other people.

I now wear my failure with pride, I’m open about why I failed and the proud of the fact I restarted my life. Admitting defeat has been liberating.

I think defeat can be a burden to many, too worried about how people will perceive them rather than the negative affects it has on you by keeping it bottled up inside.

Admitting defeat openly opened doors for me. I kept my sense of self confidence (largely because I applied the lessons learnt by that defeat to much more profitable industries and never looked back) but admitting you’re not perfect helps others relate to you in a way they wouldn’t have before.

As entrepreneurs we have visions of where we want to go and often these can be hard to convey to others but with defeat we have a tool with which to humanise our ideals.

It’s much easier to say “look I’ve been here before and this didn’t work” than to dismiss an idea out of hand while saying “I failed” helps define the often blurred line between confidence and arrogance.

If you’ve failed at something, don’t be afraid to admit it to yourself and others. Rome wasn’t built in a day and very few businesses are overnight successes.
Admit failure and liberate your stress.

Read our next blog post “Prepare for the inevitable”.

Tags :

stress, failure, truth,