How to Embrace Your Failures

Embroidery Hoop from OooohStitchy

First thing’s first: you need to accept the fact that you’re gonna eff up. Hell, you need to accept that you’re probably gonna EFF UP BIG TIME. Accept it now, and you’ll be better prepared to handle the situation when it arrives.

Have you accepted this? Okay then, let’s move on.

Next, you need to realize that everyone makes mistake. It’s a lame cliche, I know. But it’s actually TRUE. Even that little miss perfect seller you are always comparing yourself to has made mistakes. The reason you can’t tell is because she’s remedied the situation, learned from it, and BECAME BETTER FOR IT.

You can’t learn if you don’t eff up. Failures are a major part of the character building process. The best way to handle a failure is not to run from it, or try to hide it, but embrace it head on. Tell yourself, “I messed up by doing a, which can be prevented in the future by doing b instead.” See how that works?

If we acknowledge the mistake, and find out what should have been the solution, future mistakes can be prevented. To just hope that the mistake won’t happen again, while continuing to go on as we were before, offers no benefit. By ignoring a failure and simply hoping that the effects will go away, we are dooming ourselves to committing that failure again.

Do all of these generic statements drive you as crazy as they do me? Lets talk about some specific examples so you can see what I mean.

Let’s pretend there are two online sellers who each sell homemade chocolates. Both sellers start to receive complaints from customers that their chocolates are arriving melted in their mailbox. Seller #1 urges her customers to check their mailbox as soon as possible so that the heat won’t get to them, and continues to sell as usual. Seller #2 discontinues selling the chocolates during the hottest summer months, and packs more coolants and priority ships when she does sell the chocolates again.

Now let’s pretend there are 2 craft fair vendors, each selling knitted scarves at a summer fair. Neither are getting a lot of business. Seller #1 continues to sell at the fair each summer, hoping that some new scarf designs will eventually get her some sales. Seller #2 tries the fair again, but the second time making other knitted items that aren’t wearable like mug cozies and yoga sacks. When sales are still lagging, as people really just don’t want to carry around knitted items in 90 degree weather, Seller #2 stops attending the outdoor summer show and saves her booth money for holiday and other indoor, winter season shows.

In both of these examples, Seller #1 isn’t really doing much to fix her mistakes. She is just hoping that even though she will keep trying the same thing, different results will follow. The second seller, however, is taking the results from the previous mistake and re-directing her decisions. She might make more mistakes still, but even after those she will continue to change and adapt for what works best for her business.

Conclusion: You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to not package something enough so it will break in the mail. You’re going to sell at a lousy craft fair and not make your booth money back. You’re going to sign a lame consignment contract and end up getting you ass handed to you. You’re going to undercharge for shipping and lose out. You’re going to get kicked off an online forum for starting a new thread when you weren’t supposed to. You’re going to have plenty of typos in your Facebook statuses and you’re going to have a blog comment that gets dinged down into hiding. Recognize the mistake, learn from it, and grow because of it. As you start to recognize your failures as opportunities to become a better person and run a better business, you will even begin to embrace them.

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17 thoughts on “How to Embrace Your Failures

  1. Between The Weeds: LRStudio September 10, 2012 at 7:21 am Reply

    I needed your insight to see how I could change. A very big thank you is sent your way.

  2. Sher September 10, 2012 at 10:03 am Reply

    This couldn’t be more true! I’ve learned the best lessons from making mistakes. I’ve also discovered that there are some mistakes you only make once!

    This has been my favorite saying for my new eating habits as well. When I screw up (and sometimes it’s BIG), I have learned to forgive myself, and move on.

    It can be a hard lesson to learn, but when you do, the guilt and anguish is lifted and you WILL learn from it, whatever the case may be.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns September 10, 2012 at 10:05 am Reply

      That’s a very important point Sher. When we can forgive ourselves for our mistakes, it allows the path for a lesson learned to open up.

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. Barbara September 10, 2012 at 11:54 am Reply

    Wasn’t it Einstein who famously said ” The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over & over & expecting different results”?

  4. twistedpixelstudio September 10, 2012 at 12:11 pm Reply

    You hit the nail on the head. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to “explain” that concept to others, and yes, to myself as well. Own it, eat it, and learn it.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns September 11, 2012 at 10:22 am Reply

      YES! Admitting and owning up to our mistakes is very much so the first step.

  5. SaturdaySequins September 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm Reply

    Awesome, awesome, awesome! I couldn’t agree more.

    I experienced one of my first really big jewelry-related failures last year, and I definitely learned from it. The post is here, if you’re interested: http://www.saturdaysequins.com/2011/11/on-failure-and-rejection.html

  6. Heather September 11, 2012 at 9:09 am Reply

    Wonderful insight! We all need to take a lesson in this and learn to adapt from our mistakes. Not adapting is about the best way to ensure you’ll be going out of business soon!

  7. Lynn September 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm Reply

    Scientists say,”If you aren’t failing you aren’t trying.” Failure is absolutely required to make progress, in science as in many things. Thomas Edison said something like, “I didn’t fail to find a material for my filaments, I successfully determined 1000 materials that don’t work.”

    Failure in beadwork generally means UFOs or salvaging the beads. The thing I like about most beadwork is that other than some thread, you can usually get all your beads back out of whatever doesn’t work.

    • MegansBeadedDesigns September 11, 2012 at 12:38 pm Reply

      That’s all very true Lynn. In terms of mistakes in beadwork, sometimes I have to throw a messed up piece into the bottom of a drawer for awhile before I can be bothered to retrieve the beads. Too sick of it to even do that. lol So it goes…

  8. The Craft Frog September 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm Reply

    I have two mistakes sitting beside my keyboard right now! I have learned from them (embroidery floss drapes really poorly and doesn’t sew to yarn very well) but they’re still sitting there, mocking me…

  9. Dorene September 16, 2012 at 9:56 am Reply

    We do learn more from our mistakes rather than our successes. I especially like the second example you used. Thanks for sharing!

  10. […] are using the 9 to 5 as an excuse to not even try. It let’s them off the hook you see, as failure is always an […]

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