How I learned to welcome failure in business

No one likes failure, but sometimes, especially in business, it’s inevitable. Here’s how one woman, Gemma Stow, turned hers into an opportunity.

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt in business is that failure is inevitable. And that, rather than be feared, it can be welcomed, and even turned into an opportunity. I’ve decided to share my story of failure with you, to hopefully help inspire you when you’re faced with similar feelings.

Here’s my experience.

I had created a successful online business

I was featured in the Talented Ladies Club back in July talking about my career background in the public and private sectors, and how I had closed one company and started another working online.

I had created a community called Fiercemums and it was an amazing place to be. I had carved this out from my passion of unlocking others potential and designed awesome group programmes. It was doing so well and I was working with so many incredible women that I managed to live out my dream of being in a villa in the sunshine abroad with the children for the summer holidays.

I had created an online business I could run from anywhere, and I loved every minute of it. I had proved to myself that anything is really possible if you believe in it.

Then one thing happened that completely pulled the rug out from under me in a big way.

How the rug was pulled out from underneath me

While applying to get ‘Fiercemum’ trademarked I was approached by a big corporate who did not like me using the word Fierce in relation to the coaching work I was doing.

Basically they owned it! And they didn’t like me using everything I had created from the #FeelingFierce group programme to #FindYourFierce online course to my community of Fiercemums.

Threats and legal issues were thrown around and I felt very lost in it all. I guess working for yourself can feel isolating. And sometimes it can feel like there is no one to turn to.

I thought I was going to lose everything

All I could think was that I was going to lose everything that I had created over the past 18 months. I felt sick. However with support from my coaches and my community I got through it. I knew I would need to rebrand and that I had to do some more soul searching to find something that I loved as much as the word fierce.

I did feel like I was giving up and not fighting, but I knew that in doing so would zap all my energy away from what I really love to do and that is inspire others. You have to pick your battles.

Instead I looked at the situation as an opportunity

I realised that instead I could look at this whole situation as a failure or an opportunity. That everything I had worked for would be gone and I would have to start from scratch OR that this was the start of something new and exciting. An opportunity to evolve and grow.

Being in business means you have to act like a business owner. Take the rational and optimistic standpoint with every hurdle and obstacle that comes along. We never FAIL: we only WIN or LEARN. It is funny because looking back at my first TLC interview this is also what I said. So it is good to know I follow my own advice!

And in this case what once felt like everything had come crashing down, actually involved both winning and learning.

Why I launched the F Movement

I launched The F Movement for ambitious women to be whoever the F they want to be. This includes being Fierce, Free, Flexible, Feisty, Feminists, Fired up, Forward thinking, Fun and so many more. And to also embrace the things that can hold us back like Fear, Failure and frustration.

I lead by example and will not let someone else stop me from being who I know I was meant to be. To empower ambitious women to stop hiding and holding back, to believe in themselves and run unstoppable businesses.

I am so proud of the community of amazing and game-changing women I have built and who have supported me every step of the way. Reminding me that it is me they follow not a word or name. This is why I do what I do. Because when women come together amazing things happen. Come join the party – The F Movement.

My three big takeaways from this

The three biggest takeaways that I want to share with you are:

  • Don’t stop – when things get tough and the tough gets going, take a deep breath and look for the lessons and the opportunities because there will be lots.
  • Embrace failure – life isn’t ‘black and white’, ‘pass or fail’ or ‘win or lose’. Sometimes the best things happen to us for the right reasons even if it doesn’t always feel like it at the time. Hang on in there.
  • The start can stop most people – the fear of what might go wrong or sometimes what might go right can terrify us from even doing what we want to do. So just start from where you are with what have got. And know that it is enough for now. And keep moving forward. It will come together and things will take shape.

You do have what it takes, you are good enough so keep pushing and be fierce with your dreams.

You can join Gemma’s Facebook group The F Movement here.

Photo by Jonas Verstuyft