Henry Ford's business left him broke five times before he founded Ford Motor Company and became successful; Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper as his editor claimed he "lacked imagination"; Thomas Edison made 1,000 attempts at inventing the lightbulb before creating a working design.
Even the greats failed before they were a success. So, why do we so often expect results -- first try -- when dealing with our own business?
Sure, aiming high is what keeps us motivated. But all too commonly, we throw "failed" attempts to the trash when really they may just need tweaking or a little more follow through.
What we need to remember that testing is this: trying something is not synonymous with getting it right. If we do manage to achieve our desired result, we have every reason to celebrate. But if we don't, it is not reason to mourn. The project, idea, or strategy is not necessarily dead!
3 questions to ask when you "fail":
* What length of time have I tested this for - is it possible that results could increase over time to yield success?
* What could be tweaked or changed in order to produce a different result?
* What were my expectations of this test and what have the results taught me?
In a digital world, "success" could mean more clicks, more views, more emails opened by your audience, more social media engagement, more campaign responses ... No matter what we are trying to master, success is about perspective.
We need to stop mourning what's not dead, and start asking what we can learn. Most importantly: how does what we learn shape our next step.
I hope those ideas aren't buried too deep in the bin.