Currently trending is a conversation about failing proudly, failing fast, and not being afraid of failure. That’s all well and good, as the fear of failure can be paralyzing, but this paralysis results in our impending failure anyway.
Instead, what if we shifted that attention and energy to “worrying” about success?
In the soon-to-be released book Leapfrog:The New Revolution For Women Entrepreneurs, authors Nathalie Molina Niño with Sara Grace take you through the no-nonsense strategies for starting and growing a business, especially if you don’t have deep pockets.
One chapter goes deep into why we should “worry about success, not about failure.” Here’s why: By visualizing success before imagining the potential blindspots or failures, you allow yourself to create a pathway towards it. Also, you check to be sure that what you’re working towards building is in alignment with the life you dream of having and consider to be your version of success.
Here’s what to consider when reframing your orientation around success and failure:
Stop focusing on failing fast
“Fail fast” has become a battle cry for many aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Being afraid to fail thwarts progress. But might it also create a subliminal side-effect of thinking too much about failure, thus perhaps, moving us in its direction?
“The idea of failing fast is really only applicable to people with a lot of dry powder (cash reserves) to help them bounce back. It’s an idea that applies really only to folks with trust funds, big savings accounts or family wealth, which happens to be the profile of most successful startup founders. For the rest of us, failure isn’t as easy to recover from, so the priority really needs to be to work smart and stay scrappy,” explains Molina Niño.
Design your life, then your business to complement it
Rather than building a company that dominates your life and in some cases, works against what you really want, start by envisioning what you actually want, then build the business to support it.
“‘Success’ on other people’s terms is, well, not. If the recent suicides of some of our most iconic business moguls teaches us anything, it’s that the trappings of success are no measure of true happiness. Not a people person? Don’t start a relationship-driven business. Have a case of wanderlust? Don’t start a manufacturing business that will keep you grounded in one place. It seems simple, and yet, aligning the design for your life with your business model from the start is often overlooked. Happiness is too important to be an afterthought,” shares Molina Niño.
Visualize it first
Molina Niño leads women entrepreneurs through the following meditation:
Start by closing your eyes and “Imagine all the things you wish were true,” she says. “Imagine you’ve not just launched your business, but seen it become wildly successful beyond anything you could have imagined.”
She continues, ”You’ve achieved your dreams. Now, in this world you’ve created, picture yourself waking up in the morning. Now walk me through a whole day.”
”What are you having for breakfast? Is somebody with you in bed? Where are you waking up? Are you on a tropical island? Are you in the middle of Manhattan? Do you have kids? What’s the first thing you’re going to do? Are you going to go to an office or not?” she asks.
“It’s easy to get lost in big ideas and abstractions, like ‘I want a successful company that will go public!’ But what if a massive team and being in the public eye dealing with shareholders and quarterly earnings calls isn’t in line with how you want your day-to-day reality to look? Visualizing what a dream ‘day in the life’ really does look like will help you take that visceral feeling and gut check where you really want your business to go! If it works for Olympic athletes, why not you?” she asks.
Put it on paper
Visualize it all in great detail. Then write it down. Now that you have a clear picture of what your version of success looks and feels like, focus on that, and build your company to support it.
Molina Niño explains, “Losing sight of your true North is something that too many founders do. It’s understandable, running a business is all-consuming. But your goal isn’t buying nice things or hitting certain revenue targets, your goal is the same as everyone else’s: happiness. And your uniquely perfect day is the best reminder of your true North. Having it in black and white, staring at you someplace handy, is the best guide to making decisions based on where you really want to end up, not on what fire happens to be burning right now.”