Benefits of Failure

April 4, 2016
Brenda Eisenschenk
ripped paper to reveal the word failure

Recently I was asked to give a speech to Junior Achievement students.  I took the opportunity to reflect on a few things in my life.  As I was preparing, the one thing that kept coming into my mind was, “If I could give my 18 year old self some advice, what would it be?”




Here are some of the notes from my speech.

There are some benefits from not getting it right the first time.

In 2010, I was working for a large national carrier and I was informed that soon my position would be eliminated.  As a sales manager I was talking with customers all day and I could see that their needs for field services and wireless management was growing, however in my opinion, truly caring for customers was becoming a thing of the past. Business clients needed a wider variety of services and someone to look at things from their side of the checkbook so I decided I would start my own business.  There were times, in the beginning, that I thought this business might fail.  Let’s just say it went OK although it wasn’t as huge a success as I thought it was going to be. Not having it go as I had planned hurt until I realized it wasn’t the end of the world.  I was still standing.  It just had not turned out the way that I anticipated.

Looming over me then was this great question.  Now what? How do I make this better and better, yet more profitable?


If you don’t evolve you will fail.

Learning from failure has huge benefits.   The whole time I was trying to grow this business I was losing sleep every night worrying about all of the ways it could fail.  Turns out that did me no good at all.  It didn’t prevent me from making mistakes; it didn’t stop what was going to happen.  I had to take a look at what was working and focus on that.  There are always takeaways when you fail – find them.


Don’t blame anyone or anything else for how things turned out.  You were in charge the whole time.

JK Rowling once said; “There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

Once you fail at a part of your business, you realize that you can survive it. All of a sudden you don’t live so carefully.  Yes you have a little more humility but that can be a very good thing.  No one ever died from embarrassment! Both are a big advantage in business because it is all about learning from our failures and trying a new approach


Failure in business makes you stronger.

If you see an opportunity, and a market, you cannot be so afraid of failure to not try… There is no reward without the risk of failure.

If you have what you think is a value, quitting is not an option.  You may have to adjust and adapt to circumstances, but don’t quit.

If you are trying to sell ice in the Artic, it might not be big profit maker.  Now ice sales in Arizona on July 3rd are amazing.  Sometimes you have to move to your market.

My business is in an industry that changes very quickly and evolves almost daily. Listen closely to your clients and providers to know what they need.. What a great opportunity to learn! It turns out it’s one of the things I love most about my business.


Have an appreciation of others and their skill set.

Failure helps you focus and gives you clarity. Know your own limitations and then add the right people to bring it all together.  You cannot and should not do it all by yourself.  When I include other people in my business goals, it brings those ideas and goals to a whole new level.


Seek out the proper mentors and listen to them.

Never limit yourself on what you can learn from your failures, which also means observing others and learning from their mistakes.  The lessons are free and should never be passed up.  Some of the best things I have learned in business have come from people I wanted to emulate and awesome customer service experiences.

There are some benefits from not getting it right the first time.


Never quit.

Listen to the Boy Scouts, “Be Prepared”.  Have a game plan B and contingency plan C.  It removes a lot of the stress of if you fail and it keeps you open to other opportunities.

I will leave you with this.


Things will rarely turnout the way you think they will.

I can tell that at least a hundred times in my life I have planned and prepared for something and it didn’t turn out at all like I had planned.  Many of the times it turned out better than I could have imagined.   Don’t get so focused on something that you can’t see the opportunities.

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