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Success and Failure seem to be a constant thread throughout our lives… and I believe the process is not always useful, nor accurate.

Whether on a personal level or in a business sense, parameters can get blurred, or misconstrued, and sometimes be a source of defeat.  The subject came to mind recently while discussing the failure rates of small businesses.

One of my favourite phrases is “You don’t know what you don’t know”. It comes into play here, and everywhere statistics are spouted.

I created my own business

A number of years ago I gave up a great career, moved cities to care for my aging mother, and created my own brick and mortar business, a B&B. The bricks and mortar were my own home which meant my mother was on-site.

Within 18 months of opening, my business was really starting to take off. I was moving up the Google ladder in searches and was pretty well paying my way.

Then it became stressful

My mother, however, was not doing so well. As dementia claimed more and more of her brain, her behaviours became more and more random. Whether railing at me, her care-giver, for imagined transgressions, or invading the personal space of my clients with her stories or crying for me in the night as her environment felt less and less understandable, it became more and more stressful for me to run my business.

I could not always be in the moment to run interference with my guests; it was hard to explain to strangers that your mother’s accusations were the result of a demented mind, not reality; and it was impossible to charge exclusive B&B rates when sleep had been interrupted by a wailing senior.

I closed my business

So I closed my business. My first priority was my mother. It was a no-brainer, and I had Plan B and C and D in my back pocket.

In closing my business, was I failing? Not at all. I was still making choices; I was still in the driver’s seat. I did not fail; I just didn’t succeed. The difference, however subtle to some, is important.

Keep this concept in mind

You need to keep this concept in mind whether you’re developing a business or trying something more personal.  Sometimes you will try something that you soon learn is not going to move your life forward.  Instead of waiting until you need to jump off the sinking ship, take the initiative to move on from the endeavour to something more promising.  Before you “fail”, accept you cannot succeed and change gears, or lanes, whatever is necessary to keep your developing.

Success and Failure

Don’t get me wrong – I’m well aware that Success and Failure are always with us, however, I like to subscribe to the theory of one of my mentors Danny Iny: “Failure is only failure if it happens in the last chapter.  Otherwise, it’s a plot twist.”

Of course, an easy way to avoid the discussion of success or failure is to not try at all.

What’s your choice?