Overcoming Failure: The Gap and The Gain Strategy for Entrepreneurs

I've certainly failed many times throughout my life. Even the most successful entrepreneurs at the top of their game, with outstanding achievements, can feel like failures. They’re depressed and feel unsatisfied, even though everyone around them thinks they’re amazing and looks up to them as role models. Overcoming failure isn't easy.

Why Do They Feel This Way?

How are they looking at themselves, and what is their mind doing to put them in this state? Negative or positive?

It took a lot of research to get a grip on the difference between these two types of highly successful entrepreneurs: those who are happy and very satisfied with their lives, and those who feel like failures.

The Difference Between the Ideal and the Goal

When we picture our future, we have an ideal image in our minds about what kind of progress we want to achieve in all areas of our lives. The purpose of an ideal image of ourselves is to motivate us emotionally. It’s exciting to move towards a future that we see as bigger, better, and rewarding, guided by the ideal picture of what we want to achieve.

Recognizing the Ideal is Not a Measuring Stick

What's important, though, is to recognize that the ideal is not a measuring stick. It’s intended only to inspire and illuminate the path ahead so we can see what our goals should be. A goal, by contrast, is a point that we can actually reach because it has measurable attributes.

Introducing The Gap and The Gain

To solve this problem and help entrepreneurs see their successes more clearly, I am introducing a concept Dan Sullivan created called The Gap And The Gain. The great thing about this goal-measurement strategy is that it’s not only for entrepreneurs. Anyone can use it to be happier and feel more satisfied in life.

How We Measure Our Progress is Key

How we measure our progress on our goals is a life-changing game-changer. When we measure forward against our ideal, we’re headed for “The Gap.” The gap is the space between where we currently stand and the ideal. When we’re in The Gap, we feel like we’re failing. We become disillusioned, dissatisfied, and unhappy — and our confidence crashes.

Measure back from where we are currently to where we started, and we’re rewarded for all the progress we’ve made. We feel happy and satisfied about how things are going, and our confidence gets a big boost. This is what's called “The Gain.”

Avoiding The Gap

For an entrepreneur, getting stuck in The Gap is the worst possible scenario. Several times a day, I start to go into The Gap when I’m creating something new and not sure what other people will think. It’s a natural result of the negative critical brain kicking in. We’re trying to avoid failure, so we retreat to safety.

But what saves me is that I realize I’m going into The Gap, and I know how to get myself out fast: Measure backward to get The Gain.

Simple Solution – Overcoming Failure

When you’re feeling down and don’t know how to do something because it’s new, the easiest way to get into ‘Gain Mode’ is to reflect on your past achievements. Each one of us has won awards, and trophies, and accomplished great achievements. The problem is that we don’t remember them when we’re getting sucked into the ‘Gap.’

Creating a List of Achievements

The easiest way to solve this problem is to create a list of all of your major achievements since you were a child. Keep the list on your phone, print a copy, and keep it on your desk or the wall of your office. If you have space in your office, put trophies of your greatest wins on a shelf.

I’ve won MVP awards, science and math awards, and tons of medals from running half and full marathons. What are your major accomplishments that you feel proud to share? Write them down and use them to keep your mindset in ‘Gain Mode’ and measure backward against them to avoid going into the Gap.

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