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Handling Entrepreneurial Failure

Uncategorized Sep 24, 2023

My Journey Through the Twists and Turns of Entrepreneurship

Hey there, everyone! Amanda here, ready to share a bit of my personal journey with you. Entrepreneurship can sometimes feel like navigating a maze, but with every challenge faced, there’s a lesson learned.

Dreams and Grounded Reality

We all have those moments where our ambitions feel almost larger than life, right? It's exhilarating to dream big. But equally important is taking actionable steps to bring those dreams closer to reality. Balancing our goals with grounded strategies is essential.

The Value of Humility

I had a valuable lesson about humility in an unexpected setting - a yacht. Sounds fancy, I know. But the key takeaway? True humility isn’t about diminishing your value or playing small. It's about listening, being genuine, and staying connected to who you truly are. It's recognizing that feedback, even when it stings, can be a path to growth.

The Strength in Community

One thing's for sure: Entrepreneurship can feel isolating. Many of my challenges arose when I tried to handle everything on my own. The real power is in collaboration. Surrounding ourselves with supportive individuals—those who can offer advice, share their experiences, or simply lend an ear—can make all the difference. Your network is a valuable asset, so cherish and nurture those relationships.

The Continuous Dance of Entrepreneurship

The journey of building something of your own is never linear. There will be highs and lows, achievements and setbacks. And through it all, the importance lies in learning, adapting, and growing.

To wrap up, remember that every challenge we face is an opportunity for growth. Embrace the journey, with all its ups and downs. And if you're curious to hear more about my experiences and insights, tune in to my latest podcast episode. Let's keep the conversations genuine and heartfelt over at The Coach’s Plaza.

Cheers to every step we take on this entrepreneurial path! 🌟👣🌱

Do What Matters 🦄



Show Transcript

 I often am reminding my clients, if you get to be the problem, you also get to be the solution.


It is both you and not you. 


 Hey, hey, my name is Amanda Kaufman and you are watching The Amanda Kaufman Show, and we are talking about failure, handling entrepreneurial failure. It's been a hot topic this week, and I can't wait to dive into it with you today because I had the extreme pleasure of being at the coaches summit this past week in.


Austin, Texas. I'm coming to you live right now. If you're watching this on team replay, shout out team replay and let me know that you saw this. And, uh, I just, I had so much fun being in such an incredible energy with so many, uh, entrepreneurial coaches, people who are thinking about becoming coaches, people who have been coaches for.


Years and years that are just so committed to honing their craft, and I loved talking about excellence people. And we talked about excellence in a really powerful way. And I thought, hey, when I was, um, when we, when you're talking about excellence, it's really tempting to leave the other side of the coin, failure.


Or lessons that you're learning on that journey toward excellence or developing mastery. It's really tempting to brush aside failure or brush aside the screw ups or where we didn't perform to the standard that we would love to perform to. And so I thought, Hey, let's talk about it here on the show, because one of the coolest things about going to live events is being able to have all the follow on conversations with people.


I've had. I've had literal dozens and dozens of conversations with people in a more intimate setting, uh, this past week. And I've also had a lot of conversations with, uh, people in my, in my community and my various programs. And if you don't know, I have been helping people build their businesses and make the pivot from being an, uh, an employee to, you know, stepping full time into being an entrepreneur and failure.


So, uh, thank is very much not just a part of that transformation, but it is very much a part of life. And so I wanted to actually take the time today to share with you six key principles that have helped me with my whole reframe. of failure and how I experience failure, how I, um, how I live into failure.


. So principle number one is that one of the reasons why we have a really hard time handling the facts of life of failure or the facts of life of performing lesser than we wanted Is because of the failure to build in reflection, to build in that time to contemplate, to build in that time to reflect and say, Hey, am I where I want to be?


Am I producing the result or am I achieving the outcome or am I living into the level of ambition that I had? In mind, and I'm gonna give you a really simple metaphor for this. I love, I love metaphors. Metaphors really help me understand the world. I was out for breakfast with my son this morning, and we had some time before I moved on.


I went and got a haircut today. And before, uh, before we finished breakfast a little sooner than we had planned. And so I had some extra time with him. So we said, Oh, let's go for a drive. Let's go check out what's new in the neighborhood. And I let my son decide, like, are we going to go left? Are we going to go right?


Are we gonna Go straight, like where are we gonna go? And he kept telling me I want to go left. When I was in the right lane, but he would wait until we were right up to the light. He would react when we were right at the light to tell me we want to go left when we're in the right lane and I'm in North America.


So that meant that I, I would either have to haul butt, you know, across traffic to make that happen. Or it was just, it was too late. I was already stuck. I was committed to that lane. And so I needed to either go straight or make a right turn, left was off the table. And when I think about failure, or I think about options being available to us, which is really when you consider failure, or you consider my bank account isn't where I want it to be, or my My waistline isn't what I want it to be, or my friend group isn't the way I want it to be, or my relationships aren't the way I want it to be.


It's a bit like arriving at the traffic light, being in the far right lane, wanting to make a left turn. And the thing is, is if you had more time... To move to the left lane, you can make that left turn safely, no problem. So what's the difference? The difference is being able to plan and being able to respond to the conditions that are required to move to the left lane and to be able to execute that really smoothly.


Versus arriving at the intersection and going, Oh shit, I, you know, I want to be in the left lane and here I am in the right lane. And I think, you know, very often we frame, Oh my gosh, I'm a failure because we find ourselves in the right lane and we look over there and we're in comparison and we go, Oh, I, I wanted to be over there and I'm over here.


I failed. But the question is, did you? Did you really fail? If you take a moment and you actually reflect, did you have the vision that you wanted to be in that place? And therefore you planned for it, you took the steps to make sure that you were in position to be able to create that reality? Or are you seeing something for perhaps the first time?


That you really want. So are you failing or are you discovering? Are you discovering? And this is why it's so important to slow your mind down and go, ah, am I, you know, this is the reflection piece. And sometimes we frame something as failure and actually, we never actually tried. We never actually planned.


We never actually did the things that are necessary to move ourselves into the correct lane to even have that thing. So how can you be a failure if you never moved into the correct lane? So, you know, that's reframe number one. You can't fail at something you never actually tried. You know, but you can for sure be jealous, you can for sure have envy, you can for sure have ambition, you can for sure desire something new.


We can desire to go over to that left lane, and we can realize, oh my gosh, I'm at this intersection, how am I gonna get over to that intersection? That's great reflection, but that's not the same thing as failing. Failing is when you take steps and you work and you exercise a plan that doesn't work out.


And so many people get into this headspace of, Oh, I'm a failure. And they didn't actually do any of the work. They didn't actually have a plan. They never, they never explored what are the requirements to move me over to that left lane. Right? So, so that's, that's kind of principle idea number one. So that brings me to principle idea number two, which is it is and it isn't you.


So it is and it isn't you. So let's just imagine for, for a second, just kind of sticking with this metaphor, you find yourself at the intersection, you want to go into the left lane, make a left turn, turns out you're stuck over in this right lane, and it's like, we're, it's super dangerous to cut over traffic, or, you know, maybe we need to go forth from where we are, and we need to come up with a strategy to be able to move ourselves into a new position so that we can get where we want to go.


It is and it isn't you. So, what do I mean by that? What I mean by that is so many times, and this is me on my journey too, when I don't have what I want, it's so easy to get into the mindset of, oh, well, it's me. I, I'm the problem, it's me, and right, and, you know, we start reciting that Taylor Swift song and we start going, Oh, well, uh, you know, it's because I don't deserve it.


Or it's because I'm not smart enough. Or it's because, you know, and we have all these explanations about. Why we are at the intersection we find ourselves in and I think one of the biggest things that has really helped me move past that perception of failure apart from like taking that inventory and apart from like having that reflective space is just recognizing that many, many of those explanations don't even matter.


So my motto is do what matters and so many of the explanations for why, you know, why I feel this way or why I am this way or why, why the world is this way, it's, they're actually useless to getting over to the left lane, right? So what I mean, so what I mean by this is I often am reminding my clients, if you get to be the problem, you also get to be the solution.


It is both you and not you. So, very, you know, there's a lot of energy that we put towards in our society explaining ourselves, explaining the situation, explaining why, the what's and the why's in the house. It's really about our emotional state to try to make ourselves feel better. And the thing is that you can do that, but is it, is it necessarily going to change your circumstances?


Are you going to really move to... A new lane, are you going to make new relationships by doing that? Are you going to improve your bank account by doing that? Are you going to build new knowledge? Are you going to have an improved career? Are you going to have a better business by doing that? Or do you need to take the ownership of saying, Hey.


There's steps that I need to learn here. There's, there's new growth that needs to happen here. And so, yes, you were the one that, that drove your car to that point in the intersection, for sure. You're also the person still driving the car. So now that you've identified that you want to go to a new place, you're the one who gets to make a new choice.


So it both is and isn't you, you know, and so I know that that can sound a little confusing. So it takes some time. Um, one of the biggest things that I've learned as well is that life is not a static thing. It can feel a little repetitive. It can feel like it's this static thing where you're getting to this place of arrival.


So for example, you know, when in the entrepreneurial space and building a coaching business, it's I get to 10, 000 a month. When I get to 10, 000 a month, let's just say, for example, you get to a 10, 000 a month, you achieve that, you achieve that, uh, goal. That's great. That's amazing. But then what do you do the next month?


Do it again. Right? There are activities that you're doing in your life over and over and over again that you're going to do through your productive life. And things are going to potentially change. You're going to, like, think about how you lived 20 years ago, 10 years ago. Your life has lived in pivots.


It's not about arrival. And so when we're talking about your relationship with entrepreneurial failure or relational failure or, uh, maybe you've been working on your diet or you've been working on your health or you've been working on having a higher quality friendships or more opportunities in front of you.


Whatever you are working on, one of the biggest principles that I live by is that life is lived in pivot. We cannot go backwards. You know, recently I heard, um, oh, I think it was the podcast, uh, Modern Wisdom. I think that was the one where I heard it. is that we cannot split test life. And my take on that is, you're always able to make a new decision and you can pivot from wherever you are and, but you always are pivoting from where you are.


It's, life is not a straight linear line and there's no, like, when I get to this destination then I'm going to have You know, this, this achievement, we like to have these demarcation lines that we're working towards, you know, like I've done about 2 million in my business. So I'm looking at like, when do we get to five?


When do we get to 10? You know, there's the next objective. There's the next goal. I've been married to my husband for, I think we're working on 14 years. So I'm thinking about when do we get to 20? It's natural to be thinking about those demarcation lines and those next lines of achievement. And that being said, the truth of the matter is, is that we're in a flow.


We're constantly moving. We're constantly on a path. So if you build in like in principle one, build in that time for reflection, realize you're making a, you can make adjustments every single day and you are making adjustments every single day. Your life is lived in pivot. So when you get conscious of like, Oh, if I make this adjustment.


That is in my favor to create more of what I want to see and if you can have less like it's about me, I'm a big failure and that's why I'm not getting what I want in my life and you can instead go, Oh, I thought this was going to work the way that I intended turned out. Reality is different than my imagined reality, which is, we all start with imagined reality.


You know, whenever we form a plan, we, we always project, this is how I think this is going to work out. And our mind is pretty good at starting with an initial hypothesis, but we have to start somewhere, right? So we start with an imagined hypothesis and then we bang it up against the real world and we get a data point.


Now, here's where a lot of us really like. Really mess up and I know for me. I totally messed this up We get one or two or maybe five data points and we go. Okay, that's enough evidence that You know this that and I'm gonna make that my new reality with one two or five data points So, you know, I had five or ten kids be mean to me when I was a kid So I was like, okay, all people are mean that was like my paradigm.


That's what that's what I I chose as my truth for the world, but because your life is able to be lived in a pivot if you can allow yourself to get more data than 10 data points, try to go for 20, 50, as many data points as you can allow in, you start getting a better frame for how the world really is.


And when you start understanding how the world really is, instead of your assumptions off of one, two, five data points, you start to realize, Oh my gosh, I can make decisions and I can create paradigms in my life that are going to create more success for me and I'm going to experience less perception of failure because I'm going to be able to make choices that are more in alignment with reality.


And so if you think about what failure actually is, Failure is when we set up a plan, we execute the plan, and we get a result that is different than what we expected to see. That's what failure actually is. And the reason why so many of us fail is because we, it's usually because we have an uninformed plan, right?


And then we have an uninformed plan simply because we've never done it before. Or we've never been exposed to it before, or we're going into a growth area that we've never been in before. So if you just really think about what I'm saying here, most of the time we're informing our, our decisions by just a few data point, uh, based on how we grew up, or based on You know, where we've been working or based on what's being, you know, reinforced in our little tiny microcosm.


You know, there was a movie that Jim Carrey did, um, several years ago that I, that I often think about, which is the Truman Show. We all have like this little Truman Show, or if you really love movies, another one I love is The Matrix. We all have like our version of the matrix, which is like a simulation of how reality actually is.


And we're working with the data that we have. And because of our biases and because of how we think about how we confirm our biases and the way the brain works, when it comes to failure, failure is really a perception of how we expected something to work out in the first place. So if you can change your relationship to what failure is, one of the biggest moves I've made, and then like this is fairly recent for me too, is I just said failure is failure.


I have failed and I take it all the way back to what was my original assumption when I launched the plan, when I launched the whole, you know, hypothesis of what I was going to do. What was my expectation? going into this whole thing. And so when I failed, I think what I was doing for a really long time is I was saying, Oh, I failed.


That means, you know, I was using it as reinforcement of a lot of negative ideas that I had about myself. Oh, I failed. It means I'm lazy. Oh, I failed. It means that no one wants to support me. Oh, I failed. It means, it means, it means. And I was extrapolating like all of these ideas about my ego. And that's getting back to point number two, it both is and isn't about you.


When I realized I was like, wait a second. If I'm the one that's defining the plan and I'm the one that's defining success, I'm also the one that's defining failure. And if I can accept failure as failure is. I set a standard of performance that I wanted to achieve. We did fail. Not, oh, we didn't really fail because, and then make a whole bunch of excuses after that.


No, we failed. We failed. We didn't make as much money as we expected to. We didn't get as many people signed up as we wanted to. We didn't get as many people to click the link. We didn't get, you know, and like could actually accept that. But then at the same time. say, Hey, life is lived in pivot. We can do something new.


When I realized that I was like, Oh my gosh, that's so empowering because it's both about me and it's not about me because I get to take a new step. I get to recalibrate my plan. I get to take the information that I have gained from this experience and I get to do something else, but I also get to own my failure.


And this is, this has been so huge to increasing our profit, increasing the number of people who are following us, increasing the. Um, predictability in our business, not because we can tell the future, we absolutely cannot tell the future, but because we have a stronger base of knowledge that is more reliable, uh, because we're not informing it by a whole bunch of, you know, uh, highly emotionally charged, uh, responses.


So I hope this is making sense. Okay, idea number four, head in the clouds, boots on the ground. So what's this mean? So this is a principle I've used for years. So, Head in the Clouds, Boots on the Ground is really talking about this idea that if you can, as an entrepreneur, and, you know, I talk a lot about, like, entrepreneurship, building entrepreneurship through coaching, consulting, expertise, because that's what I know.


But, I mean, you could do this if you were a roofer or you were building, uh, yoga studio. Like I don't, it doesn't matter what you're doing. Like I'm talking about just general entrepreneurship. It also works if you are an employee, because here's, here's what I advocate for. Do what matters. But when you're choosing what matters, it's on the basis of your vision for an amazing life.


And so how do you decide like what's amazing for you? You get to choose. What matters. You get to choose what matters. So you get to choose your vision for what's amazing. And I remember still deciding to become a mother and deciding to, you know, get married to my husband, deciding to move from Canada to the United States.


All of this was like years and years before I ever decided to become an entrepreneur. And to me, choosing entrepreneurship was in further alignment to my vision, head in the clouds. I was like, I don't know how I'm going to learn how to get leads, how to convert leads, how to serve with products, how to do all of this stuff.


But what I for sure knew was I had like this vision of, I'm going to be really present with my kids. I'm going to be super connected with my husband. I'm going to, I'm going to serve in my genius area. I'm going to do, I'm going to have a greater impact on people. I'm going to, I'm going to be a speaker.


I'm going to impact and influence people in a really positive way. I'm going to motivate. I'm going to like, I'm going to be a positive influence, like head in the clouds stuff, you know, and here's how you know if it's head in the clouds is when you're talking about it. People are like. Yeah. Okay. How are you going to do that?


Like when you get people around you going like, yeah, okay, like how are you going to do that? And if you've got people saying, yeah, okay, how are you going to, how are you going to pay the bills, Amanda? How are you going to do that? You know, who's going to listen to you? And when the cynicism and the skepticism comes, you know, from others or even from yourself, that's how you know you got your head in the clouds and you want that.


You want that because that's where your inspiration comes from. You want to be a dreamer. And if you want those dreams to come true, you got to have your boots on the ground. So what's boots on the ground? Boots on the ground is that you're able to ground yourself and center yourself and humble. And So, oh my gosh, I got this idea from joining a mastermind, a high performance mastermind, years ago.


And it's so funny because I got this idea of Humble from, uh, Ethan Willis. Who is, uh, is, like, wildly successful entrepreneur, but he's, like, not a, not a big influencer type. You know, he works behind the scenes. And, uh, he's so super successful. And he taught me the meaning of the word humble while I was sitting on, like, the biggest yacht ever outside of Miami.


So the juxtaposition of learning this was so perfect, I can't even begin to tell you. Humble. It means grounded to the earth. It means grounded to the earth. So Ethan was talking about being able to access your power through being humble. And so I just was talking about like being visionary, really being able to see a future that's not here, being able to see beyond your current circumstances.


Yes, and also boots on the ground being real about your bank account, being real about your friend's account, being real about how you treat people, being real about how you're being treated, being real about where you are. Humble. Humble does not mean small. It does not mean small. It doesn't mean powerless.


It doesn't mean lack of influence, it doesn't mean those things. I thought that it did. I thought that humble means that you shrink. And that's not what it means. It means that you're grounded and real. And Ethan also taught me to think about numbers as a way to lead. And, like, he was the first leader to really, like, get it through my skull, which is so funny because I'm a chemical engineer, I mean, I kind of get the idea about process and numbers and all that kind of thing.


But for me to really integrate it into like, oh, this is how I use this as a decision maker as a leader. I have to credit Ethan Willis with that, like, like, I really, really got it. And so finding that balance point. Allows you to fail because if you can have your boots on the ground and realize again, it's it is and it isn't you, your willingness to tolerate failure in service of the vision, your willingness to accept and allow the feedback, because the thing is, is that any vision that you have again, we imagine it, we imagine it at first and it and it comes from somewhere else.


And we have to stitch that vision into the fabric of reality. And so if you don't have... A realistic view of the world, but a lot of people confuse realism with cynicism or pessimism. And they think, oh, I'm being realistic, you know, by choosing a small target. Or I'm being realistic by being really negative and sounding like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.


No, you're not being realistic, you're being negative! There's a difference. There's a big difference. You're being disconnected from your power. You're being disconnected from your capacity and your potential. And there's a huge difference. Between those two things, realism is about being brave enough to measure and to, to reflect and to write things down and to be wrong.


You know, I had a coaching session just yesterday where I declared that a confidence that I had a nine out of 10 confidence that I had on a strategy that I then slept on and I was like, Ooh, maybe it was more like an eight. Maybe I was feeling really uncomfortable with some things that have been happening lately.


And again, it's that space to reflect. It's okay to get new data. It's okay to reground yourself into what's going on. It's both you and it's not you. Okay. Idea number five. Idea number five is that you need network to accomplish anything. So much of your perceived entrepreneurial failure. is really that you're not supported.


Your dream is not supported. You are not supported. And so, when I see people struggling, it's usually because they don't believe that anyone would support their vision. And very often, your vision Your vision is supportive of other people's vision. And one of the best pieces of advice I ever got, I got in my second year as a consultant.


And it was, Amanda, make sure that when you are networking and connecting with people that you network and connect up, down, and sideways. I'm like uptown and sideways, what does that mean? And uptown and sideways means make sure that you have mentorship and people who are going to give you opportunities moving up in your, in your vision and your goals.


Make sure that you have people who are going to work for you that are going to support you that are coming up in their own journey. So make sure you are, you're giving those opportunities. So if you're an entrepreneur, do you have internship opportunities? Do you have junior opportunities in your company that, that people could be working for you?


And then sideways, do you have friends? Do you have peers? Do you have people who are building things just like you are, or are you living in isolation? So this is a huge idea, but a lot of times, again, you're setting the standard for success. You're also the one setting the standard for failure. One of the most powerful things you can do is have network so that you can actually see, Oh, look what other people are doing.


So it'll inform your standard. And by the way, if your standard is too low, take a look at your network. Take a look at your network. Are you surrounding yourself with peers that challenge you and call you up? Or are you surrounding yourself by people that have too low of a standard for your level of ambition?


So that is a really powerful question to ask yourself. Final big idea today is to integrate, celebrate, and recalibrate. So failure, again, is part of it. We're failing every day. I fail at like 10 things a day, so many things, but I also win at 10 things a day every day. It's really about shifting the relationship with failure.


So integrating means pulling in, Oh yeah, I did make that decision. Oh right. I did ensure this thing moved forward. Celebrating, celebrating the wins, celebrating the progress, celebrating the connection, being in fulfillment. That's, that's worth doing. And so many people hold like the carrot out in front of them forever, and they're like, I will celebrate when I'm dead.


And it's like, okay, you know, you can do that. I, I, I once dated a guy who he was convinced that all of his life was going to be lived after retirement. And I was like, okay, so you're going to basically go through the motions of life for the next 40 years. And then you're going to celebrate the life that you've had?


No, thank you. I mean, like, he, he can do that. That's totally fine. But that's, that's why we never really went any further. You've gotta celebrate the journey. Like, the journey is the destination. You're not guaranteed that you're going to have More time, you know, it's really how you play the game. It's not whether you win or whether you lose.


And of course, it's fun to win, but it's more about did you win the practice? Did you win the like each set? Did you win each day? Like, how are you doing every week? How are you doing compared to last time? This next coming week, I'm hosting the Coaches Plaza Days Away for the 7th time! And you know what?


One of my big wins? I went and got my hair cut, like, now! I'm a whole week ahead! And I'm thinking, damn girl, you're like, killing it this time! Because usually I, I think of my hair and I'm like, oh no! And you know, it's like, either doesn't happen, or it's a rush appointment before, and I'm like, super stressed out.


No, I'm one baby like I got that thing booked ahead of time and I'm feeling good I got like, you know supplies ordered way ahead of time. I've got my my speakers lined up way ahead of time I know what's happening way like So much more organized on event number seven, you know, than I was on event number one.


Event number one, hot mess, you know, there was a lot of failure in event number one. And I learned from those failures. And here's what happened next, right, is I was able to integrate.


So here we are on event number seven and I am so excited to be doing it. If you


loved this week's, uh, show, it


was a little longer, but I wanted to take the time to really. Help you think about failure is inevitable because you're going to hold yourself to a standard. And that's a good thing. And it's about how quick do you rebound? How quick do you get back in the game? How quick do you keep moving forward and how supported are you on that journey?


If you love this, make sure you share it with three. friends and you are so welcome to come and join us in our free community. The Coaches Plaza. We do formal training every Tuesday where you can join the rest of the community. You can join our dream team. You can ask us any questions. If you're building a coaching course creation business, you do want to be a part of this community.


We have all kinds of free goodies in there. Um, come join us at www.thecoachesplaza.com. If you're on Instagram, check out my link in bio, you can come and join us there, or you can click our link around this video and you can come and join us. Thank you so much.



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