What is failure exactly?

What exactly is failure? Is it a lack of being able to accomplish a task or reach a goal? Is it giving up even if you have the resources to finish? Is it not getting started in the first place? What is your definition of failure? Leave a comment below, I’d love to know what you think.

Take chances, make mistakes.Webster’s defines failure as an “omission of occurrence or performance” or  “lack of success”. That seems a bit too narrow in my mind. Let me first say I hate failing. Loath, despise and abominate failing! To me it means not being able to achieve a goal I’ve set for myself. Even more so though, I see it as not accomplishing a task from start to finish in the manner I originally envisioned the end state.

But I also think that’s an incorrect definition. That narrow mindset doesn’t allow for any shift in vision, flexibility in adapting to a changing environment, or reshaping the end state. It’s entirely too rigid. How can both of these definitions exist in my mind? I can assure you it makes for conflicting conversations between the voices in my head…and heart.

I’ve been an entrepreneur for the past two plus years, this is my third year in business. I have a good amount of education to back my pursuit and have continued to seek out ongoing learning in the realm of entrepreneurship, business development and of course website design and social media marketing. I know the statistics – both the data that says it takes 3-5 years to see a steady profit and the numbers that show most new businesses “fail” before they ever make it there.

Then the argument becomes what is failure in a business venture. This is almost easier to identify than failure in other aspects of life. Plain and simple failure in business can mean no profit, or little to no growth on a certain time table. That being said, my business is not as successful as I envisioned it to be at this point in its infancy. By the same strategy it is not a total and utter failure.

My business is at the point where it must turn left or right. It must grow exponentially (which requires certain elements be put in place), or it must be allowed to grow very slowly (which then forces me to pursue another avenue of income while the slow growth continues). Are either of these paths failure? Would either be considered by anyone utter failure? I hope not.

I think that failure in business is completely shuttering the doors and windows, absolving all assets, and walking away without taking any lessons learned with you for the future. I believe that every seeming failure is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to help someone else not walk down that same path. The only time its a true and pure failure is when you are unable or unwilling to look at the event objectively and glean nuggets of wisdom from it to use for the rest of your life.

What do you think? What does failure mean to you? Leave a comment below.


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