What’s going on guys, welcome back to another episode of The Struggle! If you are new to the article series I personally thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this and I hope you find it worthwhile.
You can expect unedited, uninterrupted writing about the mind inside of an entrepreneur (myself) about topics related to digital marketing and everyday life around being a business owner. The rules are simple: thirty minutes straight of documentation and always end on a positive note.
Before I start I wanted to give a quick shoutout to all of those young hustlers out there trying to make extra income and make a living for themselves outside of their hourly job. Especially with Covid-19 going on working from home or even in a digital space is vitally important to maintain. So I appreciate all of you online trying to make it happen, it’s motivating.
If you are someone who hasn’t considered making money online and are here to just find some nuggets of life’s wisdom, the only thing I can say is that I share all of my insights through a lot of failures and experiences that have shaped me into being a better professional and maturing myself as a man.
Life is hard in general, and I think that most of us, especially a younger version of myself, take loses and failure as if we are lacking in value or simply aren’t good enough. Which leads me to my topic today: How to deal with failure.
When I think of failure I don’t really think of “failing” in the sense of non-completion, I think of failure more as a learning opportunity. Going to school we have the grading system and when we compete we have wins and losses. That’s the normalcy of life, right? I challenge the theory that we are all in the categories of success and failures because how can we really equate our life or an experience as a failure when it’s all in perspective anyway.
For example, after my sophomore year of college basketball my coach met with me and handed me a grading sheet on my performance of the year. The scoring consisted of “needing work” to “excellent” and things like “average” and “okay” and everything in between. There were categories like “passing” and “scoring ability” as things to grade. And for my own score I had a lot of averages, excellent in certain categories like passing and free throw shooting but had other areas I needed to improve on.
At the time I was slightly offended by the categories that I needed to improve on, because I was just coming off of an All-American year and was considered one of the top-25 players in the country. So in my head I was like, “I am at the top of my class in every category, why would you give me average in any of the categories?”
Fast forward to today, when I reflect on that meeting and my perspective coming out of it, I realize that my approach was all wrong. I mean, I had the right to feel the way that I felt but the issue was how I reacted to the coach grading me. Obviously it motivated me to be better but in a weird way I felt like that year was a failure for me.
Feeling like a failure is wrong, that’s the point. In my opinion, especially when it comes to business where you are going to get fired, have success, and make money eventually through efforts of output, there’s really only two categories to focus on: What you can control and how you feel with what you can control.
What I mean by this is if I have an unhappy customer or a client that fires me from my services, I can either take that loss as a learning opportunity or I can take it as a failure. Most fixed-mindsets will tell you that you got fired because you weren’t good enough. Which may be true, but a growth mindset will ask the client why they got fired, learn on what they need to improve on and take that wisdom to improve the next situation to come.
When “failure” happens, I think it’s a good thing. Because I know that if I can fail and fail often, it means to me that I am continually learning and continually improving because my mindset is that the failures are learning opportunities as opposed to taking an “L” as something I should stay away from.
For example, my first company HNH Media, was just a commercial photography company. We worked with a lot of brands, thirty plus brands a month, and I honestly don’t remember all of them except a couple. One of them was another media company that hired me to shoot their product with food. The guy who hired me straight up said I sucked at shooting food photography and didn’t want to work with me anymore. And I got fired.
The other company was a company located in Canada, had me managing their social platforms and producing their content and after about three months, I was fired. I asked the reason for it, if I wasn’t producing for them or they didn’t like working with me and the owner simply said that I didn’t check in, didn’t feel like I was a part of the team and wanted someone who wanted to work with the company as opposed to seeking to get paid.
With both of those examples, it definitely hurt personally thinking I wasn’t good enough but the “ah-ha” moment from both of them was like, “I can fix both of those things and make my other clients better.”
My solution was to incorporate a better communication process and to make sure that my best interest with anyone that I worked with moving forward was with that company. No business owner likes to feel like they are being taken advantage of, and that certainly wasn’t my desire. So I fixed that.
And for the photography sucking at shooting food products I made it a goal that year to invest in some food products and practice shooting. It was really difficult because I hadn’t had much practice but really what I learned from that client is that I needed to practice. So I did exactly that.
I can proudly say since both of those experiences that my retention rate of maintaining clients and the percentage of how long someone works with me is much higher. And I’m talking going from one to three months to six to eight months, all by simply having better communication.
Since being fired for food photography skills lacking I’ve worked with companies where they specifically hired me for food photography! It’s amazing how you can take a detriment in your life and make it a positive.
To end this segment on a positive note the biggest takeaways that I want to vent and get across is that if you change your perspective a little bit from a “failure” or a loss to a learning opportunity, you can really improve yourself. The other takeaway that I want you to get from this is that no matter what stage in life you are at there’s always someone and something to learn from.
I actively seek out learning opportunities each day, whether it’s from learning from a mistake or seeking better understanding from the exterior. If you are in a rut in life right now and don’t feel worthy of the position you are in or if the position you are seeking seems too steep like you’re not good enough for the job, embrace it! You aren’t alone.
For every successful person there are a lot of failures and for every leader in life you look up to they were in your shoes at one point. Take it easy on yourself and understand life is ever changing. And I think the real separation from those who are “successful” to those who are in the median is the ability to “fail” at a faster rate with the filtration process that they are learning and growing through that experience.
If you enjoy these little documents of my own life and experience, feel free to sign up for our newsletter through H2Digital.co or follow my social media platforms @handshakesnhugz. If you want to read the previous article you can read it here, or if you want to start at the first episode you can read it here. Until next time, have a wonderful day and remember you are loved for who you are. You are never a failure.