I always say there is no such thing as failure, because everything is a lesson learned.
BUT if you do not learn from it, then it is a failure.
Take this example I heard from Pradyna Leitner, a business success coach: Imagine when a baby tries to walk for the first time. What happens? She falls. Now imagine if because she fell, she believes she cannot walk. She starts to explore having surgery or getting a wheelchair.
We all know that is ridiculous. It takes a long time and many attempts to be able to walk. And even when the baby starts walking, he is not fully competent on his legs for several years! One point of failure does not mean the baby cannot walk; it is one data point on a long trajectory.
Much of life is the same way. You cannot focus on one data point of failure. Yet so many of us do. We see every fall as proof that we cannot walk!
Basically, we associate failure with guilt; we think we are not good enough. A failure happened because we did something wrong that could have been avoided. But a baby must fall in order to learn to walk. Yet some go on to become professional soccer players while others mostly only walk to and from their car. Neither is a failure at walking.
You cannot know everything there is to know about starting or running a business your first time around. You must have many points of failure that strengthen you, your business acumen, your leadership, your fortitude.
Think back to when you started your business. The mistakes you made then are second nature to you now. The mistakes you are making now will be second nature to you soon. This is how we grow. We do not grow if we do not learn from our mistakes. We do not make mistakes if we stop short of failure.
I always struggle to answer the question, “if you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?” I struggle to answer that because I see every “failure” as a lesson learned. I would not be where I am or who I am today if I had not learned those lessons. So I say, fail away!