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What Will You Do When You Fail?

There isn’t a business in history that hasn’t dealt with a setback of some sort. How you deal with the inevitable blow will determine if it becomes a learning experience or something that eats away at you.

Historians often argue about how many times Thomas Edison failed before successfully inventing the light bulb. (Some say Edison conducted 5,000-10,000 experiments before finding that bamboo worked as a filament material, although he himself never actually kept count.)

Numbers aside, the moral of the story is that Edison failed. A lot. But he learned from those failures.

When you started your law practice, you were basically running an experiment. You took a chance.

For example, if you tried to land a client, failed once, then ran away with your tail tucked between your legs, you wouldn’t have a law practice.

But that’s exactly what many lawyers do, albeit on a smaller scale.

Related: How To Grow Your Practice Using Negative Feedback

They try marketing. They don’t get the results they expected. They give up, write it off, and don’t try it again.

What they should do is take stock of what they’ve learned from that experience, and try again.

The Right Way to React to Failure

How you react to failure makes all the difference. If you label something a failure, you cease to believe things can get better. Not only did the marketing fail, but you label yourself a failure.

That mindset prevents you from taking further action and making progress. As an attorney, it is tempting to revert to your comfort zone and spend more time doing things that won’t help you grow your practice.

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However, if you treat failure as a learning experience you continue to believe that things can get better. You can still reach the next level. In fact, your previous failures will lead you to success, because they teach you things you didn’t know before.

Related: How To Grow Your Firm Using a Law Practice Growth Model

It’s natural to be disappointed by a negative outcome, but that shouldn’t stop you from being excited about what you’ve learned and how that knowledge will help you move forward.

Be a Little Bit Like A Mad Scientist

If we know something is possible because we’ve seen others achieve it, we should try to figure out how to make it possible for us.

For a scientist, there is no failure. There’s just data. We have to run experiment after experiment until we see results that get us closer to our goals.

You probably know that the light bulb wasn’t Edison’s only invention. He tried and failed at creating a tinfoil phonograph. He tried and failed at creating a motion picture camera. He tried and failed at creating a doll that talks.

But he kept going. He tried different things until he got it right. He persevered.

You have the same choice. Will you end up with an unsuccessful business, or will you make a difference because you didn’t give up?

Raj Jha