The Ultimate Outcome of Failure

A self-examination may just be what the doctor ordered.

You are smart. You have thought about this idea for a long time. You have socialized your startup with a healthy handful of experienced founders. You went out and talked to a group of potential customers. You may have even secured/cajoled a co-founder into the mix. And you have talked to your family about the desire to start your own company.

What’s next?

Have you prepared yourself for the worst-case scenario?

I am talking about failure of the idea to get off the ground.

Now, I am an advocate of ignoring or at least compartmentalizing these thoughts as they can be toxic and create situations where you manage for non-failure. I am a bigger fan of managing for serendipitous success. Yes, attitude is a large part of how this journey will play out for you.

But for a second, lets consider another dimension to the worst-case outcome.

What is the worst that could happen? Here is a list of most of the things are dino brain comes up with:

  1. Your reputation could be tarnished.
  2. You may lose some of your money (existing savings or future earnings).
  3. You could be embarrassed and your ego hurt.
  4. You could waste a lot of time & energy.
  5. You could lose weight. J
  6. You could succeed and build a real business.
  7. You could learn a lot about yourself and gain new skills and experiences.

The notion here is that the worst-case outcomes are not really worst case. If you find yourself over-consumed with failure or the outcome of failure, set aside some time by yourself or with someone else and walk through these outcomes.

I think you will find, that those outcomes are not as draconian as you think and the release of that may just be the catalyst for your future success.

Remember, you are still alive and ready for the next adventure.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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