My Favorite Failures
If I have been running a business, full time for just over 6 months, that gives me permission to tell you all the "how-to's" and "expert secrets" right? Um, no. That's not even just a little bit close to reality. What I could probably muster up is a list of mess up's and failures and what they taught me. Because trust me, my list of failures is far longer than my list of "expert secrets."
I believe that our failures in business and in life should be celebrated just as victories and wins. When we can identify the failure and learn from it, suddenly the worth of the failure holds much higher then the win. So with that being said, here are some of my favorite failures...
Don't Rush; Do it Right the First Time
Ah, a classic. Right? You would think that statement is so obvious you would have to be an idiot not to listen to it. As for me however, I am still learning this and it is so frustrating to even have to be typing it out as one of my failures. Because I know better. When the pressure is on and the expectations are high, it is almost a subconscious action that happens in me where I rush through what I am in the middle of just to take it off my to-do list. Learn from me and do not do this in any area of your life. I had a few orders that came through RSWD that I have had to completely redo because I rushed through them just to call them "done". The key is to slow yourself and remember that there is enough time when you make the time. I also have a small pile of benches and other pieces I rushed through that are just not worth selling and they stare at me every day. Reminding me of how I rushed and wasted that product and my time. Oh, its just so fun. If only you could hear my tone of voice right now.
Your Client Cannot Read Your Mind; So Over Communicate
Oh, look! Another failure that I should of seen coming, because this feels pretty obvious. But listen, when you're in the middle of the work day and responding to emails with clients, your mind is most likely in a million different places and without realizing it you might start to assume your client just knows certain things.
I had been in communication with a client about a custom table for weeks. Everything was selected and he went through with his order and I began the building process. Once the table was about 80% done I was emailing him to clarify stain color and shipping dates. In looking back through our previous emails (from MONTHS back) I notice a disconnect. Heart drops. There's a knot in my throat. It hits me. I didn't build what he really wanted. And to top it off, I don't have the equipment to actually do what he wanted. So, I had to bite the bullet and take the loss. That was probably my worst mess up so far and one that I took very personally. I felt so inadequate and irresponsible- how could I let that happen? But, I am human and things like this will keep happening, so, I learn and celebrate and have a million pep talks with myself until I stop feeling guilty and move on.
My best advice would be to always keep your client in consistent communication. No matter how hard you work and how many times you check things through, mistakes happen. If your client is kept in the loop within respectful and honest boundaries they're less likely to get upset with you when delays come up!
Grace is that piece that holds us. When we mess up, when we're hurt, when we're lost, grace mends. I don't believe I could make it through life without grace. And, I mean that both in a spiritual sense and physical sense. There have been a handful of moments when the stress is unbearable, I feel like I am done. *breathe* It's hard and usually looks different every time; I find a way to take a step back and try so hard to let go. It is not easy when emotions are flying, but lean in, breathe, step back, and I find grace. It's a fundamental in life I need to give to myself, give to others and receive from others. We loose too much when we hold on to faults tightly, so maybe this is the most needed failure of the three.
Whether in business or in personal life, here's to your failures! Learn from them fast and pour yourself a celebratory glass of wine in their honor. I think it's all gonna turn out just fine.