Failing is a pain. Emotionally, it seems like there’s nothing good about it. I know -- I’ve failed a ton.
When you fail, you suffer from a stew of embarrassment, stress and frustration. And those emotions can run deep. Real deep. They can color every social experience and adversely affect your confidence.
The good news is that beneath the hormonal response there are real benefits that make you a better founder. I prefer to partner with and invest in founders that have failed – and failed hard. The harder the better. I like founders who have recovered and are back in the game.
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There are three reasons I like recovering founders:
1. Lesson Learned.
First, they should have learned something. There are dozens of trip wires that can make a founder stumble. A recovering founder knows where at least a few of the booby traps lie and can dodge them. That reduces the odds of failure.
2. Stronger decision making skills.
Second, founder euphoria has long since passed. When founders first make the leap from a real job to a startup there is a feeling of invincibility, endless opportunity, weightlessness. This founder euphoria exacerbates optimism and clouds judgment and makes for inefficient decision-making. And, bad decision making kills companies.
3. Healthy skepticism.
Third, recovering founders are not only beyond euphoria, they’re skeptical. They don’t trust their gut blindly the way they used to. Fear breeds a dependency on experimentation -- a critical part of healthy decision-making. Furthermore, skeptics don’t tend to be stubborn. It’s hard to dig your heels in when there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
While failing can be soul crushing, just remember that it’s the best training you can get.