He is a consultant, trainer and has worked in several companies in the consumer and publishing industries. In 2017, he co-founded the project “FailProof Business Academy” to help entrepreneurs explore their potential and work around failures. Three years later, he published a book with the same purpose: to help others to take advantage of failures. Failing to Hit hit the market at the beginning of the year by Self, with tools and tests to manage failures and create businesses based on real risks.
To the Observer, Pedro Colaço explains that it is both frightening to fail and to be seen by others as failed. That is why “there are those who prefer to be quiet and not have big dreams and goals, because at least it doesn't fail”. For the 43-year-old author, when something goes wrong, "the easiest thing to do is to blame other things", such as "the environment, the economy, the market, competition, not having money, investors" and that is why calls for the importance of self-responsibility. “The failure will be at the door, it is almost mathematical. It is inevitable ”, he says.
Why a book about failure?
Failing to Hit appeared back there, with the project “FailProof”. It was at a time when I was fired and questioned my perspective on my professional life. It was a turning point. It came from this phase and maybe I needed to exorcise these things a bit, personal issues too, and then this project materialized, and the idea of failure and entrepreneurs was already working a little. The theme was developed, gaining life and body. However, the project I had ended and I still went with the idea of failure. I already had a lot of material and I started to refine the approach, realizing that this had a double impact – the impact is always on people, but then the consequences are reflected in personal and professional life and, of course, in business. This is very reflected in the world of entrepreneurship. There are the mantras of failure, but it all has to do with the same thing: the difficulty in managing failure, accepting it, overcoming it. It is perfectly inhibitory, conditioning. It was born and came to life. I thought it was useful for someone, for several people.
Did you dedicate a lot of time to the book, why do you think people are still afraid of failing?
This has to do with two things. One is our expectations, the difficulty we feel when setting goals, having expectations and then not being able to get there. It is disillusionment and personal frustration, the distance between what was drawn and what we have achieved. People don't want to deal with this distance, with the hole, with the void and it costs. It is such frustration and pain. Then, it is the fact that we are inserted in a society, it has to do with the pressure of others – the way others see what you did, the interpretation of what you did, the expectations they created.
The failure seen by the eyes of others creates tremendous pressure, because what we think is no longer enough, let alone what others think and this is a stigma that has always been there. Since children, mistakes and failures are pointed out to us. These two combined weights are, in fact, a terrible prison, because later, in practice, they condition and inhibit creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship. It's all limiting. Some say it is a greater fear than dying, because dying is something that happens once and is over, despite being a long-term fear. In the short term and in the immediate, failure is a continuous thing, because you are afraid to fail and to show yourself as failed. So much so, the person prefers to be quiet and not have big dreams and goals, because at least it doesn't fail.
Does this have to do with exposing the vulnerability? Do people feel more vulnerable?
Yes for sure. We have a hard time showing ourselves as we are. Nobody is perfect, people have weaknesses and strengths, but we tend to hide the less good side in our personal, intimate or professional relationships (even more professionals), the side that we find less positive. But people are whole. We don't want to be vulnerable, because vulnerable people are exploited and exploited. There are these stigmas that have been around for a long time. Even in terms of man's evolution, there are funny things about this.
Is the aim of the book to help combat this stigma?
The book intends to help in this sense, with business as a backdrop, which is where we can create something with value. But, at bottom, it is an intrinsically personal issue. It intends to help to overcome this, saying "Okay, this is a fear, this can be overcome, this is not good, this is conditioning". If you go beyond this, you can achieve a lot of things, like creating spectacular businesses and many people have the desire to do so. It is a set of necessary actions – preventive and educational – to be applied on a daily basis. They are strategies and tactics that use failure as an ally and not as an enemy. Do not run away from it, know that it is there and use it to your advantage, use it as a benefit, because otherwise you will only be left with the loss. Since failures, you get the benefit. Hence the “Fail to get it right”, that is, to get it right you must fail and if we assume that this is part, we are using it in an intelligent and proactive way.
At the beginning of the book, he writes about “identifying possible failures in advance”. Is this even possible?
Of course, it depends on the context we are in. The book identifies a set of failures and reasons, divided by areas. There are 36 that are presented. This is a way for the person to be able to look at those main failures and segment them by areas, to understand where the risks are. Because if I enter, imagine, in a field and know where the mines are, I can avoid them. If I don't know, I'm going in any direction. It is a good idea to identify where the risks are. Of course, the risks of some may not be the risks of others and, therefore, not everything is valid for everyone. Everything depends on the context, but it is possible to anticipate failures based, above all, on the experience of others.
Of course, running away from a failure that happened does not mean that you will be able to avoid it, but you know that someone did it and went through it. And that is already an alert. You can always overcome it in another way. It is not all the same, but you have the map of the route that is being built. In fact, how does the world map exist? It exists, because there have been over hundreds of years browsers and explorers that have been building little by little, based on errors. That was how the map was being built. With failures it is the same thing, it is an accumulation, it is a history of failures in a certain area. This map is drawn up and preventive and constructive action is taken, based on the failure that we intend to avoid.
But if it is necessary to fail, this idea is nonsense.
There is a concept that I present in the book – “fail-safe” – which, on the one hand, is this: we have to be smart in choosing failures. There are some that we will be exposed to, because the risk is low and they serve as learning. But, in principle, if you work with failures at a lower or medium level or if you expose yourself to them, you will be more prevented from major failures. It is a matter of managing what failures are. If this is done blindly, the worst case scenario can happen. All of this varies from case to case, the important thing is the person's attitude: do not run away from them. But you can, at the same time, go through them, learn and prevent others – knowing that you will have to go through some.
There are no fixed rules. When we draw a map, even though we know the miles, it doesn't tell you if you have to go this way or that way. The book does not try to provide definitive solutions, it tries to force you, in quotes, to ask the questions that will put you in the right positions to get there, because, in the end, each one plays their game.
One of the concepts covered is the “business for all terrain”. What is this concept?
It is an analogy. It has to be, on the one hand, sustainable, and it has to endure over time on the most varied and different paths and, above all, to endure a long time. It is not just to take it now, just one test, it is to take several tests. For this, it is also necessary to be flexible and robust, in other words, it must be able to maneuver difficulties, successes and failures, opportunities and threats sufficiently well, with the capacity to adapt, because the issue of adaptation is related to evolution. Adaptability is an all-terrain vehicle that has to adapt to the various terrains that exist.
The question of robustness is also the same. Even though it is flexible, it is necessary to combine flexibility with robustness, that is, it has to be strong enough, but not static. That is why the book also unfolds a series of areas and sub-areas, to understand what are the parts that the business has, where we can refine and improve and make changes. If we see a business as a closed block it is more difficult. An all-terrain car has many parts, many wheels, many mechanisms and, knowing the individual parts, we are better able to operate and change it – and to be aware, above all, that each driver is primarily responsible . The book then hits this point: it is not someone who will take care of the car, it is not someone who has to know how the mechanics work, it is not someone who has to give a map of the route, it is the driver who has to be the its main responsible. If he takes that responsibility away from you and gives it to others, he is withdrawing his power and, often, it is …