Instead of listing the clichés here, I’m going to take a slightly different approach.
Failure, in general, is a misunderstood concept. If you go out to shoot a video, come back with a bunch of footage, and realize it’s all wrong, was that afternoon a failure? If you set aside an hour to work with your team to brainstorm for a project, only to emerge with no idea and more questions, was that meeting a failure? If you write an entire book, only to reach the end and finally realize what it was you were really trying to say (I just did this, by the way), was that first draft a failure?
It doesn’t actually exist. It’s not a failure if you learn something valuable from it.
By that definition, here are the nine most prominent things people who “fail” do on a regular basis (and the things you should do your best to avoid):
1. They Focus on the Negative Instead of the Positive
How are you supposed to learn if you’re too busy beating yourself up? The difference between someone who falls down and learns from it, and someone who falls down and complains about it, is the coinciding mindset. Both people still fell. The difference is how each chose to perceive that moment.
2. They Set Unrealistic Expectations
Yes, if you’re currently making zero dollars per year with your side hustle and you set a goal to clear seven figures in the next 12 months, you will most likely fail. That’s not a realistic expectation. And because it’s unrealistic, wherever you end up will be seen as a failure.
3. They Don’t Ask for Help
Good luck thinking that you can do it all on your own. People who fail set themselves up for failure long in advance. They know what they need help with, but they refuse to admit it. That doesn’t make you stronger or more ambitious. That makes you unintelligent. Ask for help.
4. They Talk More Than They Take Action
Talking about something isn’t the same as doing it. Just because you have an idea doesn’t mean you’ll execute it—or execute it well. Failure occurs when people fail to see the flaws in their habits, and a poor habit many “wantrapreneurs” share is they love to talk about what they’re going to do, but struggle to put their feet to the pavement and make it happen.
5. They Withhold Their Ideas in Fear
Nobody is going to steal your startup idea. Seriously. A mind-shattering idea is so rare—and to think that what you came up with this morning in the shower is worthy of being hidden from the world is more naive than it is respectable. You can’t walk around saying, “I have this amazing idea—I just can’t tell anyone yet.” That doesn’t actually help you move forward with it.
6. They Refuse to Give Up Equity
I feel very strongly about equity in projects, because I don’t believe the best work can be motivated just through money. Equity is not all about “on paper” ownership. It’s also about being emotionally invested. And when someone on your team is as emotionally invested as you are, they’re going to give their best work. People who fail to build successful teams and products often times try to keep too much equity for themselves—and worse, they get frustrated when others don’t live and breathe the idea just like they do. Would you rather have more equity for yourself, but have the people working with you be partially emotionally invested? Or share some of that equity and have your entire team be 100% emotionally invested? The answer is a no-brainer.
7. They Surround Themselves With Others With a Failure Mentality
How on earth are you supposed to prevail if you’re constantly surrounded by people who accept failure? You can’t. As the adage goes, “Misery loves company.” Those who maintain a positive mindset surround themselves with people who share a positive mindset.
8. They Follow What’s Popular, Instead of What They’re Good At
Failure comes in all shapes and sizes, but a common form of it appears in hubris. Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean you should. People get cocky, overly confident, and try to follow the trend instead of following their own skill set.
9. They Think of Failure as an Option
Those who truly succeed and achieve what they want in life are those who don’t allow failure to be an option in the first place. Again, it’s a concept rooted in mindset. Failure is what you allow it to be. You define it for yourself. And the more you define it, the more power you give it.
More From Inc.
- Why Failing Fast Is a Dangerous Mindset
- 5 Warning Signs You’re About to Fail
- 7 Easy Steps to Conquering Your Fear of Failure