Lessons from Failure: The School Of Hard Knocks
If at first, you don’t succeed try try try again is a mantra that we all heard whilst growing up. This song was sung so often at my preschool such that it is superimposed in my mind. There is a difference between knowing the song and applying it in real life. I have gone through my fair share of failures in life to know that it’s a mammoth task getting yourself back to your feet after a life altering event. At the age of 28, I got retrenched and it was one of the most challenging times of my life. The life plan I had carefully written out had hit a major speed bump and I struggled to cope. I went through the feelings of denial, grief, anger, depression, rejection, self-doubt, regret, and confusion that accompany such a life event. In my mind at that very moment, I had utterly and completely failed, my life was over and I would never recover from such catastrophe. In the midst of this ,I discovered some keys which have been useful in tackling this conundrum called life. I will share these few nuggets with you today.
LIFE IS NOT A PICNIC PREPARE FOR THE UNEXPECTED: The saying bad things happen to good people rings true. The insurance industry is built on the assumption that something bad will happen and the risk associated with the event can be mitigated and measured to some extent. I would encourage each of us to prepare ourselves mentally, financially , emotionally etc. for possible bumps along the road. This is not to be overly pessimistic but to say to yourself what can happen and how can I get through it. Scenario planning is a tool that is commonly used in strategic planning and is useful in our everyday life to enable us be conscious of what may or may not happen.
THE POWER OF NETWORKS: The people who surround you determine your net worth and sanity they are key in your success story. In moments of despair you need the right people around you and this is the perfect time to identify the real friends you can rely on. In times of darkness friends are few and detractors are many. Its critical to continually evaluate the people around you and assess whether their values and long term goals match yours. As an individual you need to identify the role of people in your life and know who to speak to and when. I have identified different types of people one can have in your life:
- Go To Guy – If you are in a bind they are there for you any way they can ie they have your back
- The Adviser – This person can give you constructive criticism mingled with empathy
- The Fighter/Advocate – This person will fight on your behalf in the closet and are great prayer partners
- The Comedian – This person can make you smile no matter how bad you
- The Encourager – This person is your greatest cheerleader and will support you in all your endeavors
- The Connector – This person may not always be around or may not have the resources but , is able to get you an audience with the right people
- The Guardian Angel – This is the person who unexpectedly gives gifts or money out of the goodness of their heart when you need it the most
- The Walking Encyclopedia – This person is very knowledgeable and will provoke you to move out your comfort zone
- Drive by Anne – These are people who are in your life for a season and with time you grow apart
- The Dreamer – This is the person with dreams as big as yours and will push you to do more
- The Hangman – This is a person who is very critical and can kill your dreams and vision. Its best to stick to discussing general issues like the weather with such people.
- The Two Faced Coin/ Frenemies – In your presence these are your greatest advocates and in your absence your greatest detractors
- Fair Weather Fanny – These appear when things are going well for you and disappear when things are bad
- Self Pity Sylvia – These are people who suck the life out of you the relationship focuses primarily around them
- The Leech – These are people who take advantage of you and highly manipulative
I will do a full article on these types of people in the coming weeks. In summary know the people around you cling tightly to family no matter what they have your back, hold on to those who add value and say good bye to the negative people.
SELF PITY IS A LUXURY YOU CANT AFFORD: This quote by DH Lawrence hit home in one my episodes of self-pity ,”I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.” If you watch National Geographic I am sure you have seen lions hunting and sometimes failing to catch an antelope. The lioness keeps going because it knows that having food on the table is a life or death situation. It is important to take a beat and vent about a failure , if you continue to circle around the dead carcass of the past like a vulture the carion will finish and you will starve. The time comes when you have to push through the pain and limp along despite how you feel. Its essential to feed your focus and starve your distractions.
NECESSITY IS THE MOTHER OF INVENTION: I laugh today as I reflect on the year of “hustle” when I had to make a plan to survive. I have not made it and still strive to go further and do more with my life, but the ingenuity that was built in me in the dark years is my legacy from past failures. In my family I am dubbed the ‘business person” as I have tried so many projects some of which have been an abysmal flop ending in tears and to put it in colloquial “kunyura.” My greatest failures have taught me to think on my feet, away from the box and have allowed me to be more adventurous for which I am grateful. If you hit rock bottom , there is no harm in trying something new as you cant go beyond that. The only place you can go is sideways or up.
BE BOLD IN THE FACE ADVERSITY: If you have been a bind, I mean a place where options are limited and all doors seem closed this seems like a tall order. This is however, the moment to rise up, be brave and step out. In an instance when you have lost everything you have nothing to lose right so take a risk. My Mum always describes how she almost got a coronary when I decided to go on a limb and go away half-way across the world to pursue a business opportunity with no guarantee of success. It is by far the craziest thing I have done, but I am forever grateful I did. It is better to risk it all for something you believe in than to play safe and regret it forever. It is likely you will fall but each failure is a lesson on how not to do it the next time. The inventor of the light bulb got it right after 99 wrong tries so you are in good company.
SILVER LININGS: Every time there is a storm i.e. the scary kind with lightning , thunder and howling wind it feels like it will never end but it does. The only evidence of the storm is the wet ground outside and a beautiful rainbow when all is said and done. In my years of “The Hustle” I got the opportunity to attend some amazing courses and meet some awesome people who I would never have met. I learnt the greatest lessons on gratitude, humility, leadership, empathy , perseverance the list is endless. If you are going through such a time I encourage you to take it one day at a time and look for the diamonds in the rough because they will always be there. When the storm ends you will look back and smile because you made it.
Nyasha is a marketer by profession and an avid blogger. She is passionate about personal and entrepreneurship development. Check out her blog on Facebook: Musings by Nyasha T Maturure
You must log in to post a comment.