Johanna Konta, one of our great British female tennis players who reached the semi-final in Wimbledon this year, is a great example of someone turning failure into success. She is the woman who “always struggled with anxiety” – in the clear-eyed assessment of Judy Murray (Scottish tennis coach and mother to Andy Murray). Johanna aims to be the world number one. Her story is a great encouragement though for any owner manager of a business. Although in business success/failure lies on a spectrum more than an ‘either or’ win or lose in sport.

The key is to accept and embrace our failures so that we can adapt and move on. All too often we are tempted to focus on the things over which we have little control but such a focus stops us from having to do the uncomfortable and hard work over which we do have control! We know that having a positive attitude is fundamental to our future success. Without it, we will never reach our potential. The great thing about business is that everyone can succeed if they really want to. True, only one company can have the largest market cap on the FTSE100 index – but who says that is your success?! When we at SME Strategies are talking with our clients, one of the great questions we ask (and we didn’t invent it) is ‘What does success look like for you?’ That simple question can unlock so much that in turn can be life changing.

What are the failures we need to embrace? What are the things over which we do have control and should be doing? What is our time frame? Do we have others with whom we can work creatively and collaboratively? Do we have someone to journey alongside us as a mentor and critical friend?

In business, as in life, success can come in many forms. The question is therefore what is our success going to look like NOT will we be successful? We are all on a journey towards the success that is right for us individually. This helps us grow into our authenticity that will make us unique – which is naturally part of our USP. If we can embrace and learn from losing, so we can go on to be great winners!


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