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Why Successful Entrepreneurs Fail Up

This blog was written by Jackie Hermes, owner of Accelity Marketing, for startupsavant.com – read the original blog here.

Everyone will face failure at some point in their lives—some of us more than others—but how we deal with that failure is what truly separates the successful entrepreneurs (the doers!) from the dreamers.

The most successful entrepreneurs fail. But many entrepreneurs say that the key to their success is failing up, or letting their failures develop them into a better person than they were, or guide them to create a better goal/product/company than they had before.

Here are three reasons successful entrepreneurs fail up, and how you can too.

They aren’t afraid to fail

A successful entrepreneur knows that she can never truly fail, because there is always a lesson to learn or a new perspective to gain. There’s a possibility of failure in every single situation… it’s what makes life fun, and risks rewarding when they do pan out. But the difference between those that are successful and those that aren’t is this: the successful entrepreneur does not fear failing. Or maybe she does fear failure (heck, I do!) but she doesn’t let it control her, or stop her from taking risks.

How to Fail Up – Tip #1: Do Something Crazy Today

Conquering fear is something that happens little by little, day by day. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Pick something that you’re reluctant to do, and do it. I’ve feared public speaking for as long as I can remember – so how do I overcome it? I take every single opportunity that I get to speak in public.

They let failure drive them

Successful entrepreneurs don’t like to fail; what separates a true entrepreneur from a dreamer is how they react to that adversity. Let’s just say it: failing sucks! A successful entrepreneur will do everything in his power to avoid defeat and when he does fail it’s not the end of the world. Failure drives him while it paralyzes others.

How to Fail Up – Tip #2: Focus on Your Dreams

Accept whatever doubts you may have as exactly what they are: doubts. Once you acknowledge that voice in the back of your head that says you can’t, it gets a lot easier to focus on your dreams. Your dreams are unique to you, while doubts are a common thread that nag almost anyone that’s ever taken a risk, built a business, followed their dreams. Focus on what matters: yourself and your dreams.

They learn a lesson

There’s an old saying about a camera that goes something like this: capture the good times and develop from the negatives. And, if your first picture doesn’t look the way you wanted it to, just take another one. I love that! It humanizes brands, develops richer stories and allows others to connect with us on a deeper and emotional level.

How to Fail Up – Tip #3: Develop Your Negatives

Every time you are less than successful in a venture ask yourself, “what can I learn from this situation?” Instead of getting angry or upset, take the time to reflect on and learn from your failure, instead of focusing on the failure itself. One day, that same lesson is sure to be the story that closes a big deal or captivates an investor.


Have you mastered the art of failing up? Tell me your best story in the comments below!

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