We are the change

Discovering the Power in Failure

Let’s face it! No one really relishes the thought of failure and thinks to themselves, “today would be a great day to fail”.  No one does that on the contrary even the most pessimistic person wishes the best for their business.   However, failure is a fact of life.

Having decided that it’s time to shut the door on your business the obvious question would be what next?  Unless you have another business already, you are most likely going to have lots of time on your hands now.  Now would be a great opportunity to sit down and analyse the lessons learnt from the failure.

Failure can be the end or it can simply be a setback and there is a certain psyche that overcomes failure.  It is the mindset that enables you to discover the power in failure.

The Right Attitude:

Your attitude towards the failure of your business is quite imperative.  You could view it as the end of a journey or the start of a fresh opportunity.  The latter perspective opens you up to other possibilities simply because you’ve chosen to continue the journey.  It enables you to see that perhaps you were in the wrong business and consider other choices or even decide, without guilt, that business is not for you.  Whatever your choice, don’t let failure beat you down.


One of the first things that failure does is reveal your motives for getting into business in the first place. Were you fully committed to it or was it simply a hobby you hoped could turn into a business? Were you passionate about it or was it just an idea you wanted to try out?  It’s important that you get to the heart of why you want to be in business.  It’s that passion that will supply the ‘oomph’ that catapults you into a fresh start.


The best thing about failure is that is forces you to change.  It’s a reminder, or maybe a jolt, that perhaps you should be on a different course.  Those who handle failure well are flexible and are able to adapt because they change.  They change their attitudes, their expectations and sometimes their principles.  In order to experience a future in business, you will need a degree of flexibility; enough to admit you don’t know it all.

You have Nothing to Fear Now:

Most people have a fear of failure but you have the experience of knowing that it only makes you stronger.  Being ‘fearless’ gives you  an edge over others as you won’t be risk averse if you decide to start another business. Boldness is an essential ingredient for business owners and if you are able to overcome failure, you’ll need lots of it for your new venture.

What Not to Do:

At the very least, you have learnt what not to do.  By default you are wiser about the things that work in business and those that don’t.   The best thing about wisdom is that you know that there are no shortcuts.  People may try and get you to pay for marketing gimmicks or P.R but wisdom tells you that without a strategic plan, gimmicks do not work.  The knowledge that you actually have real business experience is priceless; you won’t make the same mistake twice!


Sounds a bit strange that someone with a failed business would mentor others.  However, you have valid experience to share thereby stopping others from falling into similar pitfalls.  Empathy can also go a long way into encouraging someone in a similar situation as you.

No Shame:

Lastly, you should fight any feelings of shame you might feel.  Many people dream of having a business and the dream ends with a thought.  Some may go as far as attempting a business plan but never actually execute it.  You took a risk and actually started a business.  You should be proud of yourself!  You dared to stand out from the crowd and that attitude will eventually lead to your success whether or not you decide to start a new business.

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  1. Serena says

    Thank you, Tomi, I loved this article! It is very important for us to find value in failure, instead of being discouraged by it. I am reminded of one of my favorite Tom Robbins quotes, and I would like to share it with you:

    “So you think that you’re a failure, do you? Well, you probably are. What’s wrong with that? In the first place, if you’ve any sense at all you must have learned by now that we pay just as dearly for our triumphs as we do for our defeats. Go ahead and fail. But fail with wit, fail with grace, fail with style. A mediocre failure is as insufferable as a mediocre success. Embrace failure! Seek it out. Learn to love it. That may be the only way any of us will ever be free.”

    Happy holidays! 🙂

  2. Jon Anscher says

    Failure is a great learning tool and without it we would not develop the tools we need to succeed. From success we gain confidence. From failure we gain resilience. And from both we gain endurance.

  3. Rease says

    Good points. I have a really hard time with failure, the shame being the biggest thing for me. I also define failure so much more loosely than most. When i moved from the US to Argentina completely on my own, without a job, without friends, I spent a lot of my savings and did odd jobs for awhile. I thought the work was beneath me and thus labeled it as a sort of failure. I really had to remind myself of the enormity of the move and what I had done just by making it at all.

  4. Andi says

    An inspiring article, in the face of a discouraging topic- failure. It’s hard to see the positive in a negative. I’m feeling that personally right now, so it’s encouraging to see an article look at the bright side of it all!

  5. Tomi Ayodeji says

    Thanks everyone for the kind comments.