Submitted by: Hilary Hendershott, Family Wealth Consulting Group

I’ve been thinking about NAWBO and what it is to be a business owner.

I’ve been thinking about the big concepts like success and then, because my brain works the way it does, I think about its opposite.

There’s a word called failure. I think about this word as I watch my cat in the backyard. He is a hunter. He eyes his prey—a bird? A mouse? He watches carefully. He notices movement. He anticipates where the bird will go when he pounces.

Cats never take to the couch and bemoan their failures. Failure doesn’t exist in the cat world, and, I surmise, it doesn’t really exist in the human world either. It’s a thing that we think. (Thank you, Dr. Seuss).

Failure is conceptual. It is a made up human condition that exists in language that seems to start the emotional rollercoaster rolling. It lives, if it lives anywhere, as a word or thought. Independent of a human being trapped in culture and conditioning, it does not have anywhere to take up residence.

It certainly doesn’t belong in any NAWBO member’s vocabulary. Simply put, we made failure up—and, to make matters worse, we forgot that we made it up. We use failure as if the concept were real to bully ourselves and others. The truth is this: You’ve set out to do something. You’ve either done it or not done it. If you did it, and didn’t achieve the desired results, you simply keep calibrating to achieve your desired results or lose interest.

You don’t fail. You can’t. Failure doesn’t exist. It’s important to ponder—as failure, or the fear of it seems to keep people out of claiming the life that is available to them—the life they want. If you’ve tried saving, tried investing, tried earning what you feel you’re worth, tried being “good” at anything—well, keep trying. Or stop. Yoda says: “Do or do not do. There is no try.”

As it turns out, there is no failure either. Human beings created failure in language, and if it doesn’t serve you, you can create something else. What else would you create? What stories would you rewrite?