There are so many articles, books, quotes around failure in business. Failure in life. Failure, in any form, however you define it isn’t a bad thing. You take learnings, and do things differently next time. Better, with more experience.
We had an online shoe business which externally to people, may have seemed to be ‘failing’. We used to get asked, how are those shoes going? Are you still doing that shoe business? *Smirky face* How’s sales? *Condescending undertone*
It’s like people probed so much as they yearned for the actual truth. They were waiting for me to say, “You know what, I don’t really have the time for it and it’s not going as great as I expected”. Almost like a validation for others if things weren’t going too well for them either. *Sigh of relief*.
Externally, I was struggling to maintain this perfect image people have to portray on social media in order for others to see you as successful. If I missed a post on social media, people would think I’m lazy. If I didn’t like others posts and comment with lots of emoticons, I would be deemed as rude by potential partners in the business. Internally, I was just not keeping up with the workload and had another business (AFTR) to focus on, which was my true passion and starting to take off.
Starting an eCommerce business, building a new brand, driving business to convert to sales is bloody hard work, regardless of the hours you keep. So is the fashion industry to break into. Well, I found it difficult anyway. It needed time, focus, just like any project or business. And it just wasn’t the right time for me in particular to focus on that business.
So, the decision took me ages to let it go, and publicly, let it go. Do you ‘fail’ quietly or publicly? Do you let it slide and make sure no one talks about said ‘failure’. Just because I am time poor to upkeep a project, and have prioritised other things, does that make me a ‘failure’?
What is failure anyway? Who dictates if its failure? What an unattractive bloody word.
Failure and success are both defined by your own set of determining factors. What you consider success, what you consider as failure. We can be our own worst enemies. Do others really think you’ve failed? Do they get a little kick out of your not so giant success? Maybe. But if so, that means they are just insecure themselves. Or, maybe it’s just you projecting. Your own pressure, to be seen as successful.
I spent so many years being so worried of ‘failing’ in all aspects of my life, not just this particular business. And feared everyone knowing I’ve failed. But then, with age (I’m not that old btw), more life experience and time, realised failure is really only what you define it as. If you tell yourself you’ve failed, then, you will get into a pit, and want to crawl under a chair and curl up just like a cat. Or, you can embrace it.
Embrace the situation you’re in. Is it really a fail? And if it feels like things aren’t quite so optimistic at the moment, how can they be turned around to be a success? How can your ‘failure’ become someone else success?
With Pata Pata, we’d built a brand, had no time to maintain it and let it sit stagnant for a while. It served a purpose for the time invested in it, but needed so much more than I could give. Instead of stewing over what it could have been, we’ve found someone to make it what it can be. And our not so success, is now someone else’s opportunity to make it a success. Someone who needed this in their life. Someone who needed a break from all forces against them. And I could provide that.
My ‘failure’ is actually someone else’s gift. So really, it’s not a failure at all. It’s a gift. And that’s the most rewarding.