The old saying goes “there’s nothing to fear but fear itself,” but how true is this when it comes to failure? Failure is often seen in a negative light instead of a valuable learning tool. This week Courtney and Jerrid discuss their failures, and the role failure plays in the field of social entrepreneurship.
For Courtney, failure isn’t a dirty word. Whether it is an opportunity for growth and self-reflection. This was indeed the case when she offered a staff book discussion. Courtney was super excited to share her love of reading with her coworkers and put a lot of thought into writing discussion questions, bringing snacks, and securing a room. When the time came for people to arrive, she began to watch the clock. As the minutes continued to pass, she came to the realization that no one was coming. Of course, Courtney was disappointed, but her unsuccessful event provided a teachable moment.
Jerrid believes that nothing good comes from staying within your comfort zone. That is why when the time came to start his own business, he leaped. Sure, staring into an uncertain future was frightening–especially when he had a family to consider. All the same, Jerrid did not let this fear hold him back even when he was not quite sure how specific bills might be paid. Luckily, Jerrid found success in his measured leap of faith, but he also had to be willing to accept the possibility that he might fail.
“Fear has the potential to prevent them from living a full life and starting entrepreneurial ventures that could positively impact people’s lives”
In his work with students, Jerrid understands why they fear failure. After all, no one wants to disappoint their family, friends, or themselves. However, this fear has the potential to prevent them from living a full life and starting entrepreneurial ventures that could positively impact people’s lives.
When discussing failure, Jerrid looks towards serial social entrepreneurs for inspiration. These business owners have created more than one enterprise and have had some measure of success. Jerrid believes that there must have been failures along the way that served as building blocks for them to be successful. This becomes important for students to know. Failure is indeed a part of the process. As students go on to become part of various professional communities, they can look to successful companies for best practices and how to avoid pitfalls.
“The fear of failure is much scarier than the actual fear. It is human nature to amplify all the bad things that could happen. But what about the awesome things that may happen if you succeed?”
Moral of the story? If you’ve never failed, then you’ve never done anything of great significance.
**Credit: The theme music for Teaching Change is provided by bensound.com.**