Why Embracing Failure and Imperfection Is the Pathway to Success
Suzi Hixon remembers looking out the window of her office on the 35th floor and seeing hundreds of people below leaving work at 5:00 pm. She knew she was still far from going home herself.
She was a trademark attorney for a large regional firm making great money, but working crazy hours.
Suddenly, she had the thought:
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of what someone else says anymore. I don’t want to be a member of the herd. I want to pave my own path. ”
So she decided to put her notice in, start a scrappy law practice on a low budget, and see what happened.
People thought she was crazy for leaving six figures behind, but as the daughter of entrepreneurs who had always been a free spirit, she knew this was what she wanted to do.
She started her own practice with a laptop and Clio, a legal software that helps facilitate things like remote docketing.
Today, Suzi manages her own successful law practice where she focuses on trademark clearance, prosecution, and enforcement.
Being an early-adopter of technology has set her practice apart from the start, which is why she loves helping tech-challenged attorneys embrace new technology to transform their business.
When I asked her what mindset she had to embrace to finally make the leap of faith to open her own practice, she said this:
The willingness to fail.
The law is not typically a place where there’s room for failure. You miss a period in a letter you write, and your partner is knocking on the door the next day. Perfection is the standard.
But if you want to go down the road of starting your own practice or business, you’re going to have to be willing to take some risks and embrace failure.
It’s all part of starting something new.
As lawyers, we hate this. It goes against all of the training that’s been seared into our soul over time.
But if you want to make a real change, you have to embrace the reality that it’s not going to be perfect.
Elon Musk said, “If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.”
The perfectionistic mindsets that helped you excel in the legal environment will not serve you as an entrepreneur, or in life as a whole.
You’re going to have to ask a lot of questions. You won’t know all the answers. You’re going to fail and mess up and make mistakes, but it will be okay.
The only time it’s not okay is if you just quit.
Every mistake is a learning opportunity.
So the next time you screw something up, instead of letting it crush you, ask, “How can I learn from this?” (I call this failing forward.)
When you fall down and you skin your knee, get up, keep walking, and say, “Okay, that didn't work, but what did work? And what can I do better?”
It may not feel great at first, but you’ll build up more resilience to it over time.
Let go of the perfectionist mindset. Be willing to take risks. Start failing forward.
You have a community of powerhouses behind you.