Thoughts on Failure

I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I cannot accept not trying. – Michael Jordan

It wasn’t all that long ago that I lost my life savings and some borrowed money in a failed business venture. You may have heard of entrepreneurs who were down to the last few coins in their pockets and somehow came back to build their businesses into great successes. John Stanton from the Running Room has such a story.

But my story has a different ending. I didn’t come back. I had dug myself into a hole and only realized too late that the business concept was horribly flawed, despite having spent a couple of years researching and developing the business plan and getting support from other influential entrepreneurs who thought that the concept was quite viable. I had completely misread the market. I had made a terrible mistake. And it cost me financially. It was a very stressful period of my life and I remember the sickening feeling I felt at the precise moment I realized the business was lost. Sigh.

But here’s the thing. When the dust finally settled, the failure wasn’t all that bad. I still had my health. I still had my friends. I still had the ability to earn money. And the sun still came up in the morning.

And I learned something from the experience.

Failure is not the worst thing that can happen to you.

Regret is worse.

If I hadn’t started that business, I would have been on my deathbed one day, not remembering all of the great things I had accomplished in my life, but regretting that I hadn’t even tried to start that business. Fear of regret trumps fear of failure.

The weekend after I lost the business, I went for a long hike. And guess what I did. I started planning my next venture. Something smaller, more minimalist. Less risky with more passion.

If you have a dream of starting a business, but you’re afraid of the risks in taking the plunge, try just this one thing:

Do it anyway.


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