Last week, I was privileged and honored to attend a very special meeting of the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. After about a three-year run, Dr. Julie Edge (founder of decided that the wisest decision was to shut down her business. Anyone even remotely connected to the startup community knows how heart wrenching and difficult such a decision is for everyone involved. Untold hours, blood, sweat, and tears go into creating a business from the ground up. Shutting it down is life altering.

In spite of that visceral truth, Julie chose to handle the shutdown in a way that is not always seen among entrepreneurs. Rather than quietly closing, she, her colleagues, and her supporters chose to host a special meeting at Village Square to commemorate the event. It included a panel discussion with questions and answers that fundamentally focused on one idea: What can we learn from failure?

In reflecting on so much of what was shared, coupled with my own experiences, here are three inescapable conclusions that arise from a reflection on failure:

Failure Is The Brand Of Passion. The passionate person pursues the dream knowing that failure might occur. Nevertheless, the passion for the plan overrides failure’s fear. Otherwise, nothing new would ever be done.

Crisis Is The Driver Of Creativity. Sometimes it is only when we are facing a crisis that we become incredibly creative. Those are so often the times when our most brilliant ideas, plans, and direction arise. Although creativity is a wonderful gift that often functions quietly in the background, sometimes it must be stoked. Crisis will do that.

Humility Is The Fruit Of Failure. It is when we do fail that we are shaken off our throne long enough to consider that our throne is not quite as impervious as we thought. In experiencing that fall from the throne, we have opportunity to bear a new crop of fruit—humility. I don’t think any one of us would disagree that our world could use more of that fruit.

Entrepreneurs often know failure in a very painful business context. We all know failure in many contexts. Here is my advice:

  • Be passionate.
  • Be creative.
  • Be humble.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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