Elon Musk doesn’t let a rapid unscheduled disassembly stop him. That’s what SpaceX calls the recent unmanned test vehicle that exploded shortly after launch. SpaceX’s failure cost them millions of dollars. Your failures might not be as expensive. Don’t let your failures stop you from sales success. Here’s how to fail your way to sales success.
Look at your failure differently.
I know most people wouldn’t pick failure over success. Consider an athlete at the starting line. Would he think, “I’m going to do my best to be last!” Nope. Instead, once the race is over one hopes the athlete asked, “Did I do the best that I could do?” You can accept a failure much easier if the answer is yes. You can’t control other people, just yourself.
Recognize and accept that failure is a part of life. Elon Musk acknowledged that failure was a real part of his process by stating, before the launch, “There’s a million ways this rocket could fail.”
Learn from your failure.
Your failure is a clear indication that what you thought would work didn’t. Thomas Edison was famous for saying (and I’m paraphrasing), “I didn’t fail, but found 1600 ways that won’t work as a filament for a light bulb.”
You must do something else, because it’s crazy to think doing the same thing again will give you a different result. Learning from your failure is the first part of the value of failure. A failure isn’t all bad. Were parts of what you did that were meaningful and should be remembered? What went well? Those are the important pieces of information to use going forward. As with Edison, what did your failure show you?
Look at your decision-making process to conclude what you did was the best option. Did you eliminate an option that could have been more successful now that you know what you did wasn’t successful? Prioritize other options to go forward using the information from your failure.
Look at yourself. Are you willing to try new ideas? Perhaps now is the time to tell yourself you are open to new ideas that might stretch your risk perception. Some people are very risk averse while others are hardly bothered by risk. You can take small steps to increase your risk perception. Drive a new way home. Order a different item from your favorite restaurant. Go to a completely new restaurant! Challenge yourself to try something new.
Failure can be a function of either being risk averse or too comfortable with risk. If you never try anything new you could get left behind by competition which thoughtfully examines new possibilities and is comfortable moving forward. Assuming too much risk without examining down sides of your decision could make a failure a more likely outcome.
What will you do differently?
Pick an area of your solution and decide what you will do differently. Were your options before the failure too broad? Were they too narrow? You might want different people to confirm what you think before you generate or implement new ideas.
You have more information after the failure than you had before. Use what you now know to move on. Remember, doing nothing is a different kind of failure to avoid by making different choices now.