The Unexpected Joy of Tumbleweed (or, What I Learned from Failure)

Ugh. This feels icky to write, but also important to share. 

At the end of September, after slow sales (five), I ran my Finding Your Energy session to ONE attendee. Now, there are always some no shows when you run an online event. Life happens. People get poorly, have unexpected guests or always intended just to watch the recording. But this was the first time that this had happened to me. 

The attendee and I talked about it, and decided that we’d have the session anyway as she would be less likely to watch the recording. So, we did it. Me and one other. For an hour. On a Tuesday evening. In September.

So, why am I telling you this?

Because it’s really important that I can share with you what goes on so that you know that the stuff I talk about happens to me too! Sometimes we put ourselves out there, and what we get doesn’t quite meet expectations. We may encounter tumbleweed, or criticism, or negativity when what we expected (or at least hoped for) was engagement, praise or positivity. 

Time was when this would have sparked a tirade of abuse from my inner critic, swearing her jolly little heart out at my ineptitude, my inability to run a business and my complete inability to give the impact I talk about being so proud of.

However, this time, after a moment of ‘oh’, I simply brushed it off, delivered the best session I could and thought about how to let more people know about the rest of the masterclasses. I was not left bemoaning my lack or deficiency, but used it as a springboard for exploration.

We ALL fail. We ALL have moments when things don’t got quite to plan. When our pride may suffer a sucker punch. But that should, in some small way, feel comforting. If you want en example of this, go listen to the Elizabeth Day podcast “How to Fail” which invites (famous) guests on to talk about their three biggest failures. However, it’s not just the failure they explore, but in doing so they talk about what they learned, or what they do differently as a result. One of my favourite guests (among many wide and varied) in illustrating this is the academic, researcher and author Brené Brown. I know many of you will be familiar with her, and if you’ve found your way to Quiet the Hive, the chances are you an admirer too.  In her episode, she talks about how the success of her first book being published, was also one of her failures. It’s a great leveller. 

If we grow up knowing only success, it hurts more when first we fail. And fail we must dear reader, because we are human. Infallible. Imperfect. Shakable. The sooner we get comfortable with the fact that failure will happen, the less it knocks us.

So, next time you hit a ‘failure’, instead of leaping to all the reasons that you’re failing, start perhaps from a point of, what can I make of this. Mope for a little if you must. Have a glass of wine and a nice sit down. But then get up, and make the most of the lessons available to you, know you will fail again, and do it anyway.



This Musing is dedicated to that wonderful one who turned up – you know who you are x

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