If you work in sales or run your own business for long enough you will undoubtedly fail at something, eventually. I have read many books, articles and tweets that tell me that “I should never fail”, instead I should see my ‘situations’ as simply ways I’ve found that don’t work! Now I am truly a positive person, my glass is always half full and I always see the good in other people and in most situations. In direct contradiction to the PMA guru’s out there however, I think it is absolutely fine to fail and to admit defeat from time to time.
Everyone is different and my experience of what works for me, may or may not work for you. What I do know (and I’ve mentioned this in blogs before) is when someone is really ‘down’ and highly emotional they will not listen or respond if you try to be overly happy in an attempt to ‘jolly them up’. Under extreme circumstances they will just fight against your positivity and ask to be left to wallow in peace. If I am the person that is ‘down’, then I want someone to wallow with me for a while, not tell me to ‘cheer up’.
I have faced a number of major crisis in my life both in business and personally. Here’s just one example: In my early 30’s I built a business from nothing to great in a year and then grew that business year on year for 6 years. At that point I had an ambitious brainwave and diversified into a new area. This new area had the potential to be big but was also risky as I had to invest all of the capital I had built up. The venture sadly failed despite my best efforts and I lost ALL my savings.
At times of crises such as these it is all very well for books to give us nuggets of wisdom such as “Everything happens for a reason” and “We will be better for it”, as well as my own most hated cliché in this area “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Have you noticed that when you have said these things to people at times of crisis in their lives (for example redundancy, divorce, business failure or serious illness), they usually tell you to go away, only not so nicely?
A major crisis needs a full on grieving process where you work through the sadness and despair, move on to reflection of the past, being realistic about the present before building and planning for the future. A true friend will support you through this process rather than to try and rush you to be happy again.
Here’s my strategy for dealing with failure/major crises that I call The 6 Rs, for reasons that will become obvious:
- Retreat (give yourself time to grieve)
- Reflect (think about what has happened and learn from both the good and bad decisions you made in the process)
- Regroup (gather your thoughts)
- Reenergise (bring your physical and mental strength back to full health)
- Redesign (plan your way ahead, your future, define new goals)
- Rebuild (the stages above allow you to build stronger and firmer foundations, from which you can ‘grow again’)
So next time you are faced with a major catastrophe in your life remember this blog and give yourself some time! Share this post with people around you so they can better understand what you are going through and therefore provide the right sort of support and encouragement that you need.
Thank you for reading!
Stuart Allen ~ MD of The Sales Performance Company Ltd
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