How to Deal With Failure in Business?

By Dr. Manijeh Motaghy – Mindful Management Consultant

Published in Huffington Post on 12/11/17

Failure is in the eye of the beholder. To me if I have done my best, kept my integrity in check, considered all those who are impacted by my actions and not caused any harm on the way to my success while spreading generosity and goodness, then I have not failed, even if the business I ran is not doing so well.

At the end of the day, this life is impermanent. Everything is passing, whether we brought in millions or just a few dollars, it is temporary. Failure to me is when people, leaders and managers, even low level workers are tunnel visioned. That is, they are only after their own gain or survival, telling lies, even small ones to get away from responsibility, accountability while disregarding our shared humanity. We do business with people of all backgrounds, age groups, all walks of life. We have a tremendous opportunity to impact and influence even in a quick encounter. People remember us by what we do. If we have been honest, kind and compassionate, generous and giving, they show up from nowhere, unexpectedly and generously offering helping hands. Their hearts remember the goodness in us and feel drawn to lift us up. On the other hand, when we are inconsiderate, selfish and dishonest – people tend to not care about us so much. It makes it easier for them to look the other way when we are in need.

Here are three principals of Integrity, Body of Others, Change (IBC) and three solutions to dealing with failure:

Three Principals of IBC:

1. Integrity: Integrity is a natural inner quality that leads to peace, happiness and effectiveness. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, we began to respond to fear and greed with something other than our inner strength, losing sight of its beneficial effects.

Without integrity, when one is not truthful and twists circumstances to one’s own advantage, the psyche falls into unhappiness and becomes judgmental about itself.

Recently, a private client I’ve been working with seemed unable to shake off his own negative and judgmental thoughts about himself. It soon became apparent that it had become a habit for him to change the truth to what he believes to his own advantage. For example, lying to his own boss about a sick day when he really wanted to take a personal day. Or changing the truth about circumstances around his car accident to the insurance company so he wouldn’t have to pay his share of the cost. “It was too much,” he said, believing the necessity of dishonesty. Or telling his client he is searching the web to find them a resource when texting someone.

His inability to speak his truth contaminated every relationship in his life, most critically his relationship with himself. He was restless and on the edge all the time.

As we gently worked on this he was able to see that it wasn’t necessarily the voice of his father or anyone else in his head criticizing him. Rather it was his own daily conduct that made him judgmental about himself and took away his happiness. He began to realize that if he continued to sabotage his own natural inner integrity he would not be able to be kind to himself, no matter how much he tried even via meditate. As a result he started to observe his thoughts and began to make small changes towards living a more honest life. Gradually, his sense of confidence and success in life increased dramatically.

2. Body of Others: When thinking about goals, strategies and results one should put oneself in the body of others. Not in their shoes but their bodies. To do this, imagine you are the recipient of your own output. How would you feel and how would your output impact your life and happiness? Note, you are not you in this practice. You are the other person, with their mindset, desires, hopes, strengths and weaknesses. You become the other person and experience your output in body, mind and emotion. See if you, as the other person, are happier, more fulfilled, more comfortable by receiving your output. From this perspective and understanding formulate your business goals, strategies and objectives. When you are considerate of others, others will be naturally drawn to you and your business. This applies to when planning for the process of customer care, sales and services as well as for those who are internally collaborating with you.

3. Change & Peace: Everything is moving and shifting all the time. Nothing is solid, permanent and independent. In reality, life is not linear. Things don’t necessarily work step by step the way we plan them to. There is a web of interconnections that are at work. A million possibility of factors and events, which we cannot even imagine or account for may show up and change the course of the business or the course of your actions. Things could fall apart or excel without your doing. For this reason, you must cultivate a sense of peacefulness and steadiness no mater the circumstances. If you dwell on what did not go your way you can get stuck in painful experiences and delusion. When you are open, accepting and curious about things as they are you can see what went wrong and what went right and see how you can make a difference, learning from the circumstance to do things better.

Three Solutions:

1. Practicing Mindfulness Meditation via

  • Concentration of the body, mind and heart. Calming everything down.

  • Cultivating delight in the mind

2. Observing in any moment what needs a response

  • Consider your resources

  • Consider choices

  • Consider strategies that do not cause harm

3. Pay attention to that seductive inner voice when trying to twist the truth. Instead commit to honor the truth no matter what, protecting and insuring your own inner peace and confidence.

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