Handling failure

One of the first negative issues we have to deal with in life is the shitty realisation that we have cocked up/ failed/ screwed up/ messed up etc. Its worst when it happens despite best efforts. From failing a test at school or losing a game to causing a problem at work. One of the first lessons we learn in life is how to deal with failure. To many people, it happens so often, that they become de-sensitised to feeling rubbish at failing and just default to cocking up with incredibly low self-esteem, pride and self confidence. They often find themselves in this predicament because of a lack of parental support or care as the root problem with all subsequent issues just making their lives worse. If you don’t have love and support in your very earliest experiences of failure then the mechanisms for coping just don’t exist and things get worse.

So what has inspired me to talk about this positive topic on a Friday night? At work we have received news that a subsidiary start-up business has failed to get off the ground due to lack of custom so they are pulling the plug. However no-one has told my colleague who manages this subsidiary business. So I am in a very awkward situation where she is asking for help and my boss has told me to withdraw all activity. Going silent on email speaks volumes and it is horrible. I have also been asked to keep the knowledge that her ship is sinking to my chest – that’s a double whammy in the feeling shit and guilty conscience department. But, If I give her a secret heads-up where do I stand if they u-turn on their decision (which could happen). So I am pushed into temporary paralysis over this quandary. No-one knows the precise reason why the business has failed. Apparently decisions were based on sound market research. It’s just another victim of the recession when working in consumers’ ‘nice to have but not essential’ service category is not very secure.

Today my mother also told me of a friend who, in her first job as a freelance consultant, blew her client’s £100k budget on a project that was expected to receive a certain level of results and guess what? Those results didn’t materialise. So, getting further work on that basis is going to prove tricky.

A first conclusion is that it is extremely tough to start-up a business in these market conditions. The second is that the strongest characters and business-people persist regardless of the economic conditions and regardless of failure. Sir Alan Sugar will admit he cocked up a few times in his career. The key is working out how much you are willing to sacrifice in order to dust yourself off and move on.

I am blogging every day for Unicef to raise money for the charity. I am aiming to raise £1 a day through this blog. So far I have failed in my mission but bugger it, I’m a stubborn old goat and will just keep on going in the hope the fundraising will materialise soon – I’ve got the rest of my life to achieve this aim, so hopefully that will be a long enough time to make some decent money for the charity.

Thanks for reading.


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