NOBODY WANTS to fail in business or in life.
But some failure along the way can actually be
beneficial, even inspiring.
Learning from failure is a popular topic in
the business world. There’s a growing awareness
that a lot can be gained from what went wrong—
even though mistakes are hard to admit, especially in public. I learned of one organization
that hosts events featuring business leaders
going onstage to tell their stories.
“Seriously?” I asked myself. “Would I want
to stand up in front of hundreds of people and
share my business failures, my vulnerabilities?
Is it appropriate for a business leader to share
feelings of failure?”
But the truth is, these stories inspire contin-
ued drive and courage. Take Colonel Harland
Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried
Chicken: He was ;;, with nothing more than a
US;;;; Social Security cheque in his pocket and
his chicken recipe, and he was rejected more
than ;;; times before succeeding. But his story
is not unique.
There is clearly an appetite to move from
hearing only about success stories to sharing stories of failures—to be vulnerable, totally honest
and open about our mistakes.
The problems entrepreneurs face are always
important because we learn through our failures—as well as our solutions. It’s a matter of not
dwelling on the glitches, but on appreciating and
supporting the resilience and courage required
to overcome them.
What can you learn from your own failures?
Here are five key lessons to keep in mind:
• Failure is a step to success.
• Failure spurs innovation.
• Failure is still progress.
• Failure is forgettable.
• Failure makes you stronger.
When you find yourself in a tough spot, keep
in mind these wise words from Thomas Edison:
“I have found ;;,;;; ways something won’t
work. I am not discouraged, because every wrong
attempt discarded is another step forward.” C
Fail, then succeed
BY SUZANNE BOLES
THE SIMPLE definition of coworking:
shared working space with common
resources, such as office equipment, Wi-Fi
and shared kitchens, bathrooms and
lounges. In reality, these spaces are so
“For me, the coworking movement
is about what happens when people work
together,” says Ashley Proctor, executive
producer of Global Coworking Uncon-ference Conference Canada (GCUC; can
“In a genuine coworking space everyone values collaboration over competition.
We’re … breaking down barriers and building bridges between industries,” says
Proctor. Non-profit workers, independent
artists, freelancers and even employees
from Fortune ;;; companies work side by
side in coworking environments.
“With co working there’s a real sense of
camaraderie,” says Proctor. “If [things] go
well, you get high-fives. If something goes
poorly, you get hugs.”
Statistics sho w that coworking acceler-
ates productivity and business growth. For
example, says Proctor, if you need a web-
site for your business, chances are some-
one in the coworking space provides that
service. Rather than looking for someone
and taking time to coordinate a meeting,
you might get together that day in the con-
Coworking spaces are more affordable
than renting a larger office space, with the
flexibility to leave without being hindered
by long-term contracts.
Proctor says the cons of coworking
often have to do with noise. She says, “A
good coworking space considers introverts
and extroverts, provides communal social
space, as well as quiet workspace, acoustic
separation between offices and meeting
rooms, [and] phone booths to minimize
interruptions and unnecessary noise.”
Good places to start looking for a spot
are wiki.coworking.org and coworking.org.
“Try a few out and see what fits best,”
says Costco member Liz Elam, a coworking expert who owns several coworking
locations and founded GCUC in the U.S.
“There are so many independent operators offering a variety of kinds of spaces
and amenities.” C
Suzanne Boles ( suzanneboles.com) is an
Coworking: pros and cons
Barbara Mowat is president and founder of
Gro YourBiz.com and creator
of EXCELerate conferences
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