I see it over and over again, in my own business and the businesses of my students and private coaching clients: failure. And what I’ve come to learn is that it’s not the failure itself that’s important; it’s the way you think about it that matters.
Because failure is inevitable! We will all encounter it. So, what separates successful speakers from those who will never get their speaking business off the ground? Mindset, and more specifically, a growth mindset. This blog post will share some examples of what I mean and explain why a growth mindset can be so crucial to your success.
A Personal Example
In a recent article, I told you all about some blunders that have happened to me in my business lately. One of them was a mistake where my Challenge students got sent an email with the wrong date/time. This was the first time anything like this has happened in my 20+ years in business, and I immediately felt sick to my stomach over the error.
Many thoughts traveled through my head – mostly around “how bad we looked.” And when I thought about how bad we looked, it made me feel defeated.
Since I’ve learned that our thoughts equal our results, I became hyper-aware of how I thought and felt about this failure.
Because guess what?
If we can be okay with feeling bad, if we can allow ourselves to feel the feelings, then we become unstoppable.
People quit because they don’t want to feel the feelings. When you are willing to face those feelings head-on, there is nothing that can get in your way of success.
Fixed Versus Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is a classic, and the principles she outlines fit perfectly with what I am talking about regarding experiencing failure in your speaking business.
In Dweck’s research, she identified two types of mindsets people can have and how they drastically influence a person’s chance of success.
The difference between the two mindset types is how they think about their talents and abilities.
Someone with a fixed mindset believes their intelligence and abilities are fixed and cannot change.
On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes that abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort, learning, and persistence.
The difference is huge when it comes to encountering failures. A fixed mindset leads to hiding mistakes and flaws, feeling ashamed about failures, giving up easily, and feeling unmotivated to strive for goals.
Meanwhile, a growth mindset leads to embracing mistakes and flaws as opportunities for growth, accepting setbacks as part of the learning process, and feeling empowered to reach goals.
Some other differences are that a person with a growth mindset:
- Sees failures as temporary setbacks (whereas a fixed mindset sees them as permanent).
- Embraces challenges and risks (whereas a fixed mindset avoids challenges because they could lead to failure).
- Views feedback as constructive criticism and the chance to grow (whereas a fixed mindset sees feedback as a personal attack).
Dweck’s typology explains why some speakers see failure as proof they can’t succeed (and thus give up) while others use failure to learn, grow, and catapult future success.
Let’s take a look at another example, a more costly one.
Let’s say that you go out and deliver a speech, and it goes poorly. So much so that you lose sleep over it, and you decide after a few days to give the client their money back. (It was that bad).
Giving the money back probably relieved some of the pain, but before that came what? Despair? Devastation? Embarrassment?
Here’s the thing: if you can get through a negative feeling (let’s say embarrassment) and continue to speak another day, then you have literally played out the worst-case scenario for your career…and survived!
It’s a matter of seeing the failure as a learning opportunity – something to rise above and not something that defines who you are.
It’s a matter of developing a growth mindset.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
Here’s the one thing you have to remember about mindset: it’s a choice.
The emotions you feel, the thoughts you think, the things you do – these are all choices.
That means that you can choose today to work on developing the growth mindset you need for success in the speaking world.
So how do you do that? Here are some tips from Psychology Today:
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfection (both in yourself and others!).
- Be brave when facing challenges; view them as opportunities.
- Pay attention to your words and thoughts to actively replace negative thoughts with more positive ones and judgment with acceptance.
- Cultivate self-acceptance and stop seeking approval from others.
- Cultivate a sense of purpose and let that purpose drive your thoughts and actions.
- Learn from the mistakes of others.
- Remind yourself that you may not be there ‘yet,’ but you can continue improving and growing.
- Remember that building a speaking business is a journey, not a destination.
A Final Thought
Please hear me when I say this: every speaker has bombed at one point. Everyone has felt the negative feelings of failure. Those who are still around today are the ones who eventually got back on the horse and moved on.
Some of my most famous clients have bombed very publicly. And they sat with the feelings that came along with it, picked themselves up, dusted off, and carried on in their business.
What matters when you have a setback is what you think about it and that you learn how to deal with the negative emotions that come with failure.
Building a speaking business is a process. There will be failures and lessons learned along the way.
Work on developing a growth mindset, and you’ll be able to handle these failures and push through to find success in your speaking business!
See you soon, Wealthy Speakers!