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Can we change the way we view Failure?

Its time to change the conversation

Last week I was listening to an interview with Sofia Amoruso about her new plans for her new thriving business “Girl Boss” on Money CNN by Laurie Segall. As I listened to it, I heard the interviewer ask her about her “failures”, referring to the bankruptcy of her previous company, Nasty Gal. From that moment I didnt hear the rest of the interview as I became stuck on the word “failure” , it was so out of place, not only in the interview, but also within her achievements.

This lady had grown a fashion empire from an ebay store, she had made a mark on the world, by building Nasty Gal and it ended in bankruptcy as a full circle. She hadn’t failed, She had “cycled” 

I decided at the point that if we refer to “failure” as “cycling” we acknowledge the true journey that an entrepreneur will go on, no matter how their story actually ends. 

There is a void which has to be filled when your journey ends, not only the void in your life, at the absence of the company that you loved, but also the void for those who had invested their hope in you to show them that ordinary people really can achieve extraordinary things. 

“Cycling” acknowledges that there has been a journey, most often, one of great learning. The great thing about “Cycling” is the fact that you have reached a point of closure and to move onto your next cycle, you need to propel yourself forward and jump, take a risk and start again. If we use the word “failure” we accept that there is a final end and the only way to move forward is to start from nothing and rebuild. Failure and Cycling mean two very different things. Failure is cut throat, it effects you internally and places you in a position of judgement, whilst cycling represents a journey, which tends to lend itself to experience and knowledge and being placed in a position where you can support others. 

If we accept things as “failures”, we accept that there is an “absence of success” However if you dig a little deeper you will often find the tiny seeds of inspiration which have been sewn as a result of the work you did, there is no greater level of success than inspiring others. Everything has a way of living on forever, it will always be part of the journey that we embark on as entrepreneurs and the mark we leave on this world. 

A few weeks ago I was reading an article online and for some reason I started to click through to different Facebook pages, as I casually browsed through, I started to stumble across the people who used to work for me. Whilst it took me by surprise, I noticed that they were creating products similar to my previous company, using similar terminology and messaging, all building businesses and creating a network to support each other. 

When I took a step back I realised that amongst the noise around the closure of my business, small little seeds had fallen and during the past 8 months whilst I had been growing internally, these seeds had started to grow externally. 

Often there is a void to fill when a company closes or a person walks away. That void will fill up with lots of small companies or a competitor, it doesn’t matter. Your presence and the work you did, whilst deemed as “failure” by some, simply “cycled”. The absence of the very thing you loved, gave way to growth for others, a new journey, but you will only spot this, if you dig a little deeper, if you take the time to scratch the surface. 

There will always be good in the world, there will always be good in people, we just have to put our faith and trust and know that in everything we do, it will always leave a footprint, for somebody else to follow. How can that possibly be failure? I would much rather say I have “cycled”.

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