“It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure,” Bill Gates.

Anyone would think that success and failure are mutually exclusive. But ask any entrepreneur and they’ll tell you that the two are very much intertwined.  If you have the ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ mindset, you’ve more than likely experienced failure. What matters is how you handle that failure, how you move on from it.

Handled right, failure can actually help you out. Check out this advice for making failure work for you.

  1. Entrepreneurs are risk takers. Ambitious people are courageous. They accept that failure is okay and understand that they will not always be successful in their ventures. But taking risks is all about stepping outside of our natural comfort zones. To achieve anything, failure is always a possibility so give yourself permission to take the risk but accept that you won’t always be successful, often for no fault of your own.
  2. Give it your best shot but when you fail (and you will sometimes) determine the reasons why and learn from them. Failure is a teaching opportunity, learn from it with a clear mind. It’s natural to want to turn our backs on mistakes but learn to embrace them.
  3. Listen to your critics. Try to de-personalise failure. To learn from mistakes it’s important to not take any negative feedback personally. Really listen to what your customers, clients, associates and friends are telling you. Step back from taking it personally and analyse what they are telling you. It might be that just a few tweaks are needed to turn something doomed to fail into a rip roaring success.
  4. What’s the worst case scenario?  Before venturing out there, assess the “worst case scenario” and ensure that you can survive it.  Putting all your eggs in one basket can be a recipe for disaster. Build failure into your planning and be aware of options available to you when you take risks. If you can’t survive them, perhaps rework your plan before launching yourself out there.
  5. Failure creates opportunity. How many times has one door shut in your face only for a better door to open? We look at successful people and only see their best moments. It’s easy to forget about their failures. Richard Branson is a great example. Who remembers Virgin Cola, Virgin Cosmetics, Virgin Brides and Virgin Wine? All business failures but he got back up and carried on moving forward.

So be ambitious as you want to be and remember that you only fail when you stop trying. This will allow you to stretch yourself, safely, and thrive in any situation. Very few people go through life being successful at everything. And if you are honest with yourself and genuinely learn from your failures, you still win!