How to Fail in Business Without Really Trying

Only three steps required


Jill Ebstein

3 years ago | 2 min read

Many of us spend so much time trying to succeed in business. It turns out that failure can be just as hard.

But not if you follow three easy steps:

Step 1: Resist Having a Plan

The world loves us to plan. Every manager I’ve ever worked for has greeted me with, “Let me see your plan.”

That was until I went into business for myself and decided that plans are overrated. Just do it — like Nike says — and Nike built quite the business.

Having no plan means that I can create whatever I want. I don’t have to speak first with customers. If I had a dime for every manager who said, “Let’s go and pulse the market,” I wouldn’t need to start my own business. Instead, I would be counting my many, many dimes.

I won’t need a timeline because timelines are meant to be broken. In COVID time, days go nowhere, and clocks don’t seem to work, so why even bother with a schedule.

Similarly, I won’t construct a budget. Money is tight, and a budget would only depress me. I will play the lottery, but I haven’t seen lotto used as a line item on any budget … yet.

Nope, I’ll just go without. I will adopt “just do it” as my mantra and will hope for a remix of the Nike story where I am the star.

Step 2: Be Creative in Finding Excuses

More likely than not, problems will arise. They always do. Things cost more. Development takes longer. Customers become fickle. There are so many reasons to fail.

No problem here either. The important aspect of failure is to not assume accountability. Finding an excuse can be every bit as hard as tracking down the problem or saying, “I am responsible.” Yuck!

Instead, be creative. Blame the costly miss on gremlins. Or the pandemic. Or depression. Or the charade of professional sports teams trying to carry on. It makes it hard to concentrate. If I can’t concentrate, how can I possibly succeed?

The important takeaway here is to place the blame elsewhere, and by elsewhere, I mean anywhere.

Step 3: No Listening, No Learning

It is super important not to fall into the trap of the “L words.” If we listen, then we have to take into account other people’s views. This complicates life and decision making.

They aren’t the experts either, and besides, listening to them makes me think too hard and break the “no-schedule” I kind of want to keep.

The same thing is true about learning. It takes time to consider what we could have done differently, and by differently, substitute “better.”

The mere thinking about embarking on a “lessons learned” moment makes me feel small … and hungry. Next thing you know, I’ll be looking for humble pie. Yuck again!

Repeat to yourself, “Brash is better.” Have a Dorothy moment, click your heels, and say it three times. You will have conquered the L words.

My Failing Conclusion

Everyone has it in their ability to fail. All it takes is a willful disregard for the common wisdom that is spewed everywhere. You can do it. We can do it.

Even better, except for this one article, we won’t tell the secrets of how we succeeded in failing. We will just celebrate our failures quietly.


Created by

Jill Ebstein

MBA, consultant, author, speaker. Fan of tennis, dogs and being a leader of my pack.Interested in the intersection of life, family, and modern-day peculiarities. Authored "At My Pace" series







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