Innovative Thinking – Failure X5 – Blog 012

The most important part of failure is not to take it personally.  Later on in this book, I will discuss a new concept of “Organic Innovation”.  This is where you look at your idea or creation as that, a creation.  Many entrepreneurs see their creations as a child.

You give birth to the idea, you nurture it, grow it, sacrifice for it, sometimes for years.  If you are lucky, you can watch it get out into the world on its own and succeed!  But, sometimes, you watch it die.

When I lost my first company, I was devastated.  I spend so much energy building that idea only to watch someone come along and kill it.  I felt helpless because there was nothing within my power I could do to prevent its death.  It was out of my hands.  All the money I could throw at it wouldn’t change the outcome.

At the time, I didn’t realize that I was reacting the way a father or parent would react.  I didn’t understand that I was actually grieving a loss, the loss of an idea I gave birth to.

Looking back, I completely realize I went through the five stages of grief.  Really!  One stage at a time, I dragged myself and my family through all five stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  And, during this time, I couldn’t function.  Looking for a “job” was extremely difficult.  Being innovative was impossible!

At first, I couldn’t believe it was over, it was dead, and it wasn’t coming back.  Then I really did get angry!  Angry at everybody!  The people who cause it.  The people who might have been able to prevent it.  Even people that had nothing to do with its demise.  I even got angry with my family and spouse.  Of course, at the time, I didn’t know why I was so angry and I didn’t know how to stop being angry.

Then came the bargaining.  I bargained with shareholders, suppliers, and even employees.  None of that changed the outcome.  Then came depression.  That wasn’t pretty.  It was tough to do most anything, especially being my usual upbeat entrepreneur.  This part lasted for more than a year.

Then finally came acceptance!  Yea for acceptance!  At that point, I moved on and invented my next company that to date generated three U.S. Patents,  45,000 customers, and more than $1m in revenue.

So let me give you a very valuable word of advice here…  Get over it!  Don’t take it personally!  Crap happens!  People can’t be trusted!  It’s not about you!  Move on!

Seriously, you cannot take it personally.  If you could have controlled it, you would have.  Let it go, say to yourself, “business is business” (and if you say it in a Yiddish accent it’s even funnier), and free your mind of anything negative so you can find your next success.

And…  If you can do that…  Email me immediately on how.


Lon Safko
Serial Innovator, Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Innovative Thinking


Tags: innovative thinking, creative, creative thinking, Innovation, critical thinking definition, innovation definition, critical thinking skills, creative process

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