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MikefaithI recently attended Yanik Silver’s 2008 Underground Online Seminar IV in Los Angeles.

I’m guessing a lot of my readers don’t know who Yanik is. It’s funny how a person can be extremely well-known in one field and completely unknown in others. So if you don’t know Yanik, trust me, he’s a big gun in the Internet Marketing world. (If you’re looking to start making $$ via the Internet, you can’t go wrong by starting your studies with Yanik’s 33 Days to Online Profits.)

But I digress a bit from my topic. That is not Yanik in the picture. That is Mike Faith, CEO of Headsets.com. Mike spoke at the Underground and had a great message.

Mike opened by talking about how failure has been a part of his life, like so many of us. But he said there are five things we can learn about failure:

  • Failure is based on perspective. We’ve all heard the story about how Thomas Edison failed 5,000/6,000/8,234 times (depending on which author/speaker/consultant you happened to pay attention to at the moment) before coming up with a working lightbulb. Of course,Tom didn’t see these as failures. He saw each one as moving him a step closer to finding the right answer.
  • Failure usually comes before success. How many of us succeed right out of the box? Only those extremely fortunate and rare souls. It’s absolutely true when they say the difference between a successful person and a failure is often times because the successful person simply picked himself/herself up one more time.
  • If you’re failing in one sandbox, move to another. Mike talked about how he used to sell windows door-to-door in England with little success. Then he started promoting his service through flyers and, ultimately, direct mail. These allowed him to generate appointments with those people who were interested in what he was selling. A better use of his time and more sales.
  • Every failure is an opportunity to improve. While this might sound cliche, in reality, it’s far too common for people to continue doing the same things over and over again, looking for different results.  They usually don’t get different results, duh.
  • Visualize success, but anticipate failure. Every morning at 5:00 am at Headsets.com, someone places an order online to check the system. They also place a phone call to make sure someone is there. This is a lot like how Fedex anticipates failure. Did you know that every day, empty Fedex airplanes take off from Seattle and Boston, then fly routes over major cities before heading to superhubs? That way if one of the planes on the ground has mechanical trouble, they can land, pick up the packages, and keep things moving for on-time delivery.

As Mike said in his first point, it’s all about perspective. Failure can be a good thing. It’s certainly a part of life, both personally and professionally. So it only makes sense we look at it the way Mike does.