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Failure Delivers Success

You Choose the Path...

Being able to gain strength from failure is the biggest determining factor in success in business, relationships, and in life. Entrepreneurs are risk takers and are always less circumspect by nature, meaning they face failure on a regular basis. They embrace and expect it. Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to see the positive power of failure.

This ability goes beyond the realm of just business, unfortunate setbacks occur in all aspects of our lives and the sooner we learn to face failure and take back control, the more successful our lives will be. Failure is quite simply, an event. It is not a permanent condition and in no way makes you less worthy.

“Figuring out how to master this process of failing fast and failing cheap and fumbling toward success is probably the most important thing companies have to get good at,” says Scott Anthony, the managing director at consulting firm Innosight.

Becoming affluent at failure, however, does not mean creating anarchy out of organization. It means leaders – not just ones who speak at the annual conference at a hotel, but in the trenches, every day – who create safe environments for taking risks and are able to share their stories of their own mistakes. It means taking time to reflect on failure as much as success. More importantly, it is the attitude you choose to have on how to react to the failure.

If top executives are accepting, people will embrace risk. But if managers react harshly, people will retreat from it.

For example, Eric Brinker, Director of Brand Management and Customer Experience at JetBlue Airways Corp., was given the idea to give in-flight passengers a healthier option, based on their reviews. So the extremely popular but not very healthy mix of Doritos, called “Munchie Mix” was given the ax, and replaced with a healthier option for passengers.

The backlash of passengers that prided themselves on gorging on this famous junk food bag while flying was tremendous. These people wanted their “Munchie Mix”. “People wrote really spirited letters, saying: ‘This is the only reason I flew JetBlue!”‘ Brinker says. He realized he’d have to do another upheaval of the bags of food, leaving him embarrassed.

So rather than slinking away with his tail between his legs, Brinker decided to make fun of himself to reduce the reaction to an effervescent one. He even started a viral web campaign within the company entitled “Save the Munchie Mix” reading : “Some pinhead in marketing decided to get rid of the Munchie Mix!” and encouraged people to write poems and songs about how much they loved the “Munchie Mix” snack and to bring it back. The reaction? People in the company saw him as a leader because he was able to admit failure, yet showed no sign of weakness and displayed his ability to learn from his mistakes. This encourages the behavior of risk taking.

What we can learn from this? We choose how we react to things. Failure is present in our lives daily. If we can manage to turn failure into success, and always have the ambition to learn more and more, there are no limitations to what we can achieve.

As Eric Brinker said, “If we don’t have people willing to risk something, then we’ll really end up like our competitors.” And that, of course, would be a failure indeed.

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