A group culture that thrives off failure

In the world of entrepreneurship, a healthy dose of failure is inevitable. Through personal experience I have seen far too many young entrepreneurs exit the wrong way from failure. The way I have chosen to see the exit signs is one saying get better, and one saying get bitter (cheesy, I know). This is a topic that has been integral to my personal growth and the growth of Team Future, our student incubator.

The failures I have had are many; in various aspects in life. When related to business there are countless mistakes that will be made, large or small blunders, some general annoyances and some life changing situations. Although these situations vary, the questions still stand: will you be better or bitter? Will you adapt, accept, learn, grow? Or give up, be complacent, fall back? The answer seems simple when written in black and white but what I have experienced shows that it is easier said than done.

Everyone will have different reasons for their fear of failure, a common one among entrepreneurs is the fear to lose face and fail in front of their peers. When something goes wrong this feels like a reflection on the individual and they feel a loss in self-esteem. This is something we strive to avoid because of how valuable the experience of failure is. The mentality that is beneficial to growth is one which sees failures as opportunities rather than obstacles. There is a large amount of value to be gained from these experiences, especially when related to Team Future. One of our activities is content creation, sharing what we do and what we learn, so any mistakes we make can provide value to those that follow us in the form of free articles, blog posts etc. If there is a blunder within the team we should take the time to make a mental note of it, analyse it and see what insight we and others can gain from it. It is easy to have a knee-jerk reaction to failure and emotionally respond but we can often regret this in hindsight. Often the best way to deal with one of these situations is to hold tight, pass the emotional response phase and then make a move in a positive direction driven by logic and sound, rational decision making.

When related to a student incubator I have found that a helpful team philosophy is to encourage hustling and trying hard, rather than just success. If we link our sense of achievement to success and success only, it can lead to people just wanting the image of a high achiever rather than a humble hard worker. That is why it is important to build the attributes of discipline and consistent action taking. It is nice to have a supportive team that encourages this mentality around you and this collective thinking leads to more resilience in our business practice.

Getting emotionally caught up in tough situations is normal but it can be a good exercise to regularly look at the situation from above and see the larger perspective, rather than being mixed up in all the drama of the moment. This thought process goes hand in hand with the idea that this is a journey. In entrepreneurship we all take this path of learning curves and this requires us to re-calibrate our business regularly in order to succeed. A life with no trials and tribulations would be a boring one. So, value these moments and use them to grow stronger and become a well-rounded, experienced and successful entrepreneur.

Chris Swingler

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