Lessons from failure

Kristin Austin
Apr 3, 2018 · 4 min read

These days it seems incredibly popular to fail. Fail fast, fail forward, fail often. No-one is immune from the delights of failing — even the ‘lucky’ people.

The lessons we learn from failing often stay with us longer than the insights we gain from succeeding.

However, there seems to be a message hidden, quite covertly, in much of what’s written on failure on the internet. It’s almost as if people are saying failure at any cost is still cool, the lessons will all be worth it. And if you do it enough times, you’ll be successful. Whatever that is to you.

Of course those messages are mostly around owning a business. And then the real message becomes, chase the money (sometimes called growth) at any cost.

Except failing at any cost — ie: the cost of your sanity, your family, your home, or your team members lives, etc isn’t worth it. It never will be worth it. And proclaiming that you’ve learned your lessons after destroying all of that, well, that just seems rather pointless.

Now before you go hating on me, I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve failed. Pretty spectacularly in some instances. And those epic fails have shaken me to the bone. They shook my confidence in myself, in people and in life itself. In fact, I’m just out the other side from the last one. It took me 18 months to truly recover from.

But, like you, I have responsibilities. I have a mortgage and bills to pay, kids to feed and a spouse to take care of. So there was no frivolous blowing of money to make myself feel better (okay, so maybe the occasional pair of shoes and probably more Netflix than I should). Or chasing the next big win (no go big or go home in the business — risking it all) or finding solace in anyone else’s arms.

However, it wasn’t failure in isolation that taught me what I needed to know, it was the courage and grit to sit my butt back on my chair and keep going — no matter what. That’s where I learned the real lessons.

I kept my focus on what was truly important — and here’s the heads up — it’s NOT money. It’s NEVER money.

What’s really important, to me at least, is ensuring me and my family have what we all need — love, food, a roof over our heads and the support to be ourselves, make a difference and have some fun — however that comes about. And that’s what I strive to provide. Failing on that front isn’t an option. IT. ISN’T. AN. OPTION!

And because my business sustains my family and pays our bills, huge all or nothing failure there isn’t an option either. Running a business isn’t the gamble that it’s made out to be. Sure many fail, but that’s more about not staying the path and not commiting to making it work, come hell or high water. Running a business is hard, sucky, boring from time to time and no-one’s coming to give me a billion-dollar payout any day soon.

And although both it and I have suffered from some significant knocks and stormy weather along the way, my business is now nearly eight years old. It’s that way, because I committed to making it work. I. MADE. IT. WORK. I didn’t wait for anyone else to ‘save’ me or it. I hunkered down and got it done — regardless of what was thrown at me (and it).

And so can you. Make it work, that is.

Failure in business and life, is pretty much guaranteed — you will stuff up and it will hurt. But if you keep your focus on what matters, you’ll be okay.


A friend on the path

If you follow me you’ll get to see what real life looks like. Sometimes funny, sometimes messy, often challenging — but always real.

I’d love it if you gave us a clap, so that other people can join us on the keeping it real journey. Thank you in advance.

Connect with me on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

If you’re wanting a mentor in your business — you can find me at http://www.kristinaustin.com/business-mentoring-programs/

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

Kristin Austin

Written by

Small business owner; passionate advocate for preventing poverty & abuse by building a business; educator; mentor; thriving survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

Athena Talks

A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

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