When Richard Branson talks about the success of his business Virgin Group, he readily admits to several failures along the way. “We’ve never been 100% sure that any of the businesses we’ve started at Virgin were going to be successful,” he says. “But over 45 years, we’ve always stood by our motto: ‘Screw it, let’s do it’. While this attitude has helped us build hundreds of companies, it hasn’t always resulted in success.”

There was Virgin Cars and Virgin Brides – Branson’s attempts that didn’t get over the line. However, by venturing into areas he thought were viable, Richard Branson learnt from his failures only to become one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet.

There are two traits that Richard Branson possesses that are crucial to succeeding: confidence and ideas. The rest of it comes from those he has surrounded himself with – a strong and loyal team. If you look at yourself, what are your important traits? Identify what it is that makes you who you are – more often than not, your close friends and family and employers will tell you that again and again. Are you good with numbers, exceptionally fit, really funny and easy to get along with? A good reader of people’s emotions? Find out what it is that makes you tick and that those around you identify with and enjoy.
Then …. embrace it! One of the most important factors in your success is accepting that you are complete just the way you are. You can feel complete without becoming complacent and still seek new challenges in life. It’s easier said than done but being aware of who you are in its entirety can transform the way you chose to improve your life.

Now that you have accepted that you are happy with yourself, you must decide whether you’re going to be your authentic self or live by the persona you create. One of the ways to stay true to yourself is to establish core values. What are you willing to do (and not do) along the way? What are you will to accept (and not accept)? It’s very important to define your values and ethical standards to keep true to who you are at your core.

Finally … you are ready to make some important decisions – evaluating potential risks or mistakes – what are the skills and relationships required for you to succeed in whatever it is you want? The question you need to ask yourself is “Even if this fails, are there skills and relationships that I can develop that will carry over into other areas of my life?”
Failure isn’t failure if you can gain new skills and develop relationships for future advancement. Just imagine how this small change in perspective on “failure” can lead to learning more skills and nurturing even more relationships than you ever thought possible. How’s that for accessing your worst-case scenarios and evaluating those proclaimed “failures” in life?

In summary, Richard Branson’s advice to others facing the prospect of potential failure is: “Failure is a necessary part of business, so it’s incredibly important for all entrepreneurs and business leaders to know when to call it a day, learn from their mistakes, and move on, fast.”
If we translate that to our everyday lives, let’s just know that we will never know what we’re made of if we don’t try.