Am I a Failure?

The other night my daughter interviewed me for a school project. I did not ask her why she chose to interview me, but I got the idea that she was supposed to interview someone in business. As she wandered through a fairly common set of questions, one of them stumped me:

Have you ever failed? Tell me about that.

I was stumped because it occurred to me that I have indeed failed. A lot… And yet, I have not failed…

Did I fail when I ran a company that I had founded into the ground (and into a huge amount of debt) back in 2008? 

Yes; except I turned that company around, paid off every bit of the debt, and sold it five years later.

Did I fail when a music company I started a decade ago never even got off the ground in spite of a massive investment of cash and time?

Yes, except I used what I learned from that disaster to become a full time musician a few years later.

Did I fail when <insert about a hundred other debacles over my career> happened?

Yes; except I got up, dusted myself off, learned what I could, and did not quit.

You will probably fail a lot in the short term. Some of those failures may be huge and spectacular. Some of them may cripple you. However, you have not really failed until you stop getting up and back into the game.

I feel strange writing what I just wrote because I don’t see myself as a typical self-help guru for entrepreneurs. The way you think matters though, and some of you needed a reminder.

Stay in the battle. Fail– but don’t permanently fail.

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