Failure is a very heavy word. In fact, this is something that entrepreneurs struggle with feeling, overcoming and beating on a daily basis. It's a fear that we hold deep within us as we power through each day. These failures can come in many forms, and don't have to be notable failures to throw us off course or ruin our week. We may be a business that's small in numbers, but we are building an empire and anything that messes with that can feel like a gut-wrenching setback.
But it doesn't have to be this way. While these moments can indeed weigh us down, it's really how you look at these experiences that will set you apart from the rest.
What is failure anyways?
It really comes down to your own definition. Most of the time, it's nothing that anyone would ever be able to notice from the outside looking in. It's knowing that you didn't live up to expectations that you had for yourself - which makes it that much more devastating. But, don't be so hard on yourself. We promise, it's not something you want to waste time on in the long run.
Use failure to learn from
“After four tumultuous years of building my startup with the wrong partners, I was determined to find a way to take my business to the next level … and what better way than to apply to ABC's Shark Tank? In September of 2013, I found myself walking down that scary shark infested hallway into a stare off with 5 of the harshest millionaire investors in the world. I'd never been more nervous in my entire life. When I proclaimed I was going to change the population with my reverse engineered online dating business, serial entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, rolled his eyes, called me delusional and immediately snapped, “I'm out." After getting shot down by all five Sharks, I looked them in the eye and said, 'Trust that you'll all see me again.' Although those final bold words of mine ended up on the cutting room floor (adding insult to injury), in the 48 hours after the broadcast, Cheekd.com received a record breaking 100K unique visitors and our inbox filled up with thousands of emails insisting that the “Sharks" were “out of their minds" for not investing. A little under 50 of those emails were from interested investors. Since the Shark Tank aired in February of 2014, I found the missing links from years before. We've raised 5 times the amount I'd sought on the show and I've gotten a CTO on board who's helped facilitate and finance the new face and technology behind the new Cheekd. The newly launched dating app allows users to solve missed connections with a new technology that was not available when the patented Cheekd idea was launched in 2010. It was only a matter of time and I'm thankful I didn't take the Sharks advice to quit and move on." Lori Cheek, Founder of Cheekd.com shared about her crazy experience on Shark Tank.
Use it to gain resilience
The more you are able to overcome, the stronger and more resilient you become. At this point, you are well aware that your business is going to take work, every single day, in order to get to the end of the finish line. You need to learn to overcome challenges in order to get to that point and that means dealing with some letdowns along the way. These experiences will teach you how to carry yourself and build character. Failing will help make you who you are.
Don't dwell on something you feel you missed out on
Even something like losing a client can put us into a tumultuous state. “I used to think that it was the worst thing in the world to lose a client. We prided ourselves on doing whatever it took to keep everyone, and any time we'd lose a client I would beat myself up. I have since learned that not all clients are good clients or the right clients for us -- it's important to make sure that you find the right people to work with. And I've learned that businesses grow and change - so do we. Since I started being willing to lose clients (and not doing work for free trying to keep people), I've been able to charge more, our revenue and profit has soared, and we're getting more business than ever." - Reva Minkoff, owner of DigitalGroundUp Inc. and Digital4Startups Inc.
Hello, we've all been there. Every single business empire wasn't built in a day nor achieved perfection overnight. It takes some time and some struggle before we get to fulfill our goals. But the struggle is part of the journey, it all depends on how you use what you've learned along the way.
Women in the workplace have always experienced a certain degree of discrimination from male colleagues, and according to new studies, it appears that it is becoming even more difficult for women to get acclimated to modern day work environments, in wake of the #MeToo Movement.
In a recent study conducted by LeanIn.org, in partnership with SurveyMonkey, 60% of male managers confessed to feeling uncomfortable engaging in social situations with women in and outside of the workplace. This includes interactions such as mentorships, meetings, and basic work activities. This statistic comes as a shocking 32% rise from 2018.
What appears the be the crux of the matter is that men are afraid of being accused of sexual harassment. While it is impossible to discredit this fear as incidents of wrongful accusations have taken place, the extent to which it has burgeoned is unacceptable. The #MeToo movement was never a movement against men, but an empowering opportunity for women to speak up about their experiences as victims of sexual harassment. Not only were women supporting one another in sharing to the public that these incidents do occur, and are often swept under the rug, but offered men insight into behaviors and conversations that are typically deemed unwelcomed and unwarranted.
Restricting interaction with women in the workplace is not a solution, but a mere attempt at deflecting from the core issue. Resorting to isolation and exclusion relays the message that if men can't treat women how they want, then they rather not deal with them at all. Educating both men and women on what behaviors are unacceptable while also creating a work environment where men and women are held accountable for their actions would be the ideal scenario. However, the impact of denying women opportunities of mentorship and productive one-on-one meetings hinders growth within their careers and professional networks.
Women, particularly women of color, have always had far fewer opportunities for mentorship which makes it impossible to achieve growth within their careers without them. If women are given limited opportunities to network in and outside of a work environment, then men must limit those opportunities amongst each other, as well. At the most basic level, men should be approaching female colleagues as they would approach their male colleagues. Striving to achieve gender equality within the workplace is essential towards creating a safer environment.
While restricted communication and interaction may diminish the possibility of men being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment, it creates a hostile
environment that perpetuates women-shaming and victim-blaming. Creating distance between men and women only prompts women to believe that male colleagues who avoid them will look away from or entirely discredit sexual harassment they experience from other men in the workplace. This creates an unsafe working environment for both parties where the problem at hand is not solved, but overlooked.
According to LeanIn's study, only 85% of women said they feel safe on the job, a 5% drop from 2018. In the report, Jillesa Gebhardt wrote, "Media coverage that is intended to hold aggressors accountable also seems to create a sense of threat, and people don't seem to feel like aggressors are held accountable." Unfortunately, only 16% of workers believed that harassers holding high positions are held accountable for their actions which inevitably puts victims in difficult, and quite possibly dangerous, situations. 50% of workers also believe that there are more repercussions for the victims than harassers when speaking up.
In a research poll conducted by Edison Research in 2018, 30% of women agreed that their employers did not handle harassment situations properly while 53% percent of men agreed that they did. Often times, male harassers hold a significant amount of power within their careers that gives them a sense of security and freedom to go forward with sexual misconduct. This can be seen in cases such as that of Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and R. Kelly. Men in power seemingly have little to no fear that they will face punishment for their actions.
Source-Alex Brandon, AP
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook executive and founder of LeanIn.org., believes that in order for there to be positive changes within work environments, more women should be in higher positions. In an interview with CNBC's Julia Boorstin, Sandberg stated, "you know where the least sexual harassment is? Organizations that have more women in senior leadership roles. And so, we need to mentor women, we need to sponsor women, we need to have one-on-one conversations with them that get them promoted." Fortunately, the number of women in leadership positions are slowly increasing which means the prospect of gender equality and safer work environments are looking up.
Despite these concerning statistics, Sandberg does not believe that movements such as the Times Up and Me Too movements, have been responsible for the hardship women have been experiencing in the workplace. "I don't believe they've had negative implications. I believe they're overwhelmingly positive. Because half of women have been sexually harassed. But the thing is it is not enough. It is really important not to harass anyone. But that's pretty basic. We also need to not be ignored," she stated. While men may be feeling uncomfortable, putting an unrealistic amount of distance between themselves and female coworkers is more harmful to all parties than it is beneficial. Men cannot avoid working with women and vice versa. Creating such a hostile environment is also detrimental to any business as productivity and communication will significantly decrease.
The fear or being wrongfully accused of sexual harassment is a legitimate fear that deserves recognition and understanding. However, restricting interactions with women in the workplace is not a sensible solution as it can have negatively impact a woman's career. Companies are in need of proper training and resources to help both men and women understand what is appropriate workplace behavior. Refraining from physical interactions, commenting on physical appearance, making lewd or sexist jokes and inquiring about personal information are also beneficial steps towards respecting your colleagues' personal space. There is still much work to be done in order to create safe work environments, but with more and more women speaking up and taking on higher positions, women can feel safer and hopefully have less contributions to make to the #MeToo movement.