Being Honest About Failure

This is going to probably be a difficult blog post for some people to read.  Whenever I talk about failure, I always get some really heartfelt and introspective responses from people.  When we have success, it’s easy to deal with, but when we know that something isn’t working it gnaws at us and we begin to question everything.

I wrote a post back in March where I basically told people why subscribing to the Casual Marketer Monthly Newsletter might not be for them – I was talking people out of buying.  In that post, there was a line where I said that the reality in life is that some people aren’t succeeding because they simply aren’t good enough.

That was actually a very good post but that one line seemed to just resonate with some people and it generated a fair bit of feedback.  I struggled to understand why.

Then it kind of hit me today.

I was sitting on the couch about ten minutes ago watching the Manchester derby and after the match, the commentator said, “City were too much in the first half, United just weren’t good enough.”

As a United fan, I knew that was kind of true, but even before my brain could switch into gear I found myself mentally taking umbrage with the analysts view and thinking, “They were a bit unlucky, if that ball sits for Ibrahimovic in the 43rd minute…”

I stopped myself and that’s where this blog post came from.  I was making excuses and not accepting the reality – United wasn’t good enough.  Their first 40 minutes was a steaming pile of garbage and they fell two goals down to a side who spent the first half giving them a lesson on passing and ball control.

My mind flashed back to the responses I got from people regarding that post in March – there were two types of responses: one, was from people making excuses for themselves, and the others were from people who were simply resigned to the fact that they probably weren’t good enough.

It was like an epiphany.

Failure sometimes isn’t failure, it’s simply a case of not having succeeded yet, but that’s a dangerous and fine line to walk.  Very quickly you can go from motivated to solve a problem to deluded stubborn failure.

Let me give you a couple of examples.

There’s this person that seems to bounce from live streaming service to live streaming service creating “shows” just talking to other people struggling as much her.  The conversations are banal, superficial and worthless from a content and education perspective – most of the time is spent talking about the “miracle” of live streaming.

The problem is, this lady has failed over and over again at what she’s trying to do because she’s simply not interesting enough, funny enough or charismatic enough to do what she’s trying to do.

She’s just not good enough and no amount of hard work or perseverance is going to fix those problems for her.  That’s the grim reality of that situation.

Conversely, I have a friend of mine who has been trying really hard to get his online business working.  He’s had a fair few bumps in the road, but he’s got the tools to be successful – he has a good offer, he’s got a good product and he’s starting to build a small audience in his niche.

Last month he tried to do a big affiliate push – he found some people in his niche who had audiences but weren’t really monetizing that, he recruited them to promote his product and he got that whole affiliate launch motion setup and working… And it absolutely tanked.  I’m not talking a little bit, it totally bombed.

He was a bit dazed and confused when I first spoke to him, but he was trying to process what went wrong.  He settled on a few different things that he needed to fix and decided to reach out to the affiliates personally, thank them for promoting and offer to do webinars with them to try and get more sales to increase their commissions.

He failed, accepted he wasn’t good enough in his approach and looked at what he needed to do to fix the problems.  The webinars have been more promising and he didn’t really “fail” he just hadn’t worked out how to succeed at that point.

But what happens when you come to that realization that you’ve failed simply because you aren’t good enough?

Obviously, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Can I fix this?”  The harsh reality is, often times you can’t.  If you’re self-aware enough to have reached this point, then the truth is, you need to do the work to see if you can figure out what exactly is broken and if you have it within yourself to correct it.

If the problems aren’t fixable then the simple truth is, pull the ripcord.  Don’t be that person clinging to some epic failure and losing the last vestiges of your pride and self-respect.  It’s time at this stage to simply figure out how to move on.

Because the harsh reality is, you are wasting your time flogging a dead horse if you’re not good enough to succeed and it’s not something you can correct.  I’m the biggest advocate in the world for hard work and sticking to something.  Like I said in this post, sometimes failure isn’t failure, it’s just a case of not having figured out how to succeed yet.

But sometimes, it’s better just to be honest with yourself and move on.

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