Failure is not an option

May 7, 2014


..until it just happens.  The blogging and social media world is full of the humble brag, and I am just as guilty as the next person.  Look at the gorgeous vacation I am on.  Look at my fabulous photo shoot and all the amazing people with whom I am working.  Look at all my accomplishments.  As a small business owner and entrepreneur, social media is an invaluable and important tool in staying connected, networking and gaining clients, but rarely do we hear about the failures.  The bid you lost out on, the unhappy client, the failures.  What business owner in their right mind would talk about their failures?!?!  We share so much on social media, but rarely do we share this.  Well I am here to share a failure, a time when I was unable to make a client happy.  Through whatever fault, my work, their opinion, their expectations, my not meeting them, whatever, end of the day they were not happy.  And despite trying to make them happy through all resources I had at my disposal, I couldn’t.

Being the teacher’s pet, A+ student and people pleaser that I am, this was a particularly hard pill to swallow (I am a total Libra). I know I should embrace this as a learning experience. Perhaps challenge myself, hone my craft more and evaluate how I understand my clients’ expectations in order to better achieve them…or realize I am not the right person for the job. The world of Silicon Valley and start-ups seem to wear failure with a badge of honor. In fact 75% of startups fail, but their founders seem to pick-themselves up and move onto the next venture. (It certainly helps they have the backing of millions of dollars and VC firms, but I digress.) I don’t want to fear failure, but it still isn’t fun. So I am owning it, learning from it and moving on. Hoping it will make me better. Heck, I had to have tons of crushes, bad dates and boyfriend failures before I found and realized my husband was the one, so moving onward.  Do you all have any failures that have made you better? Professionally? Personally?

7 Responses to “Failure is not an option”

  1. yes one HUGE one – but it was the best think that could have happened to me! The end of the last start up I worked for has truly given me a “life” back – reminded me there is SO much more to life than what your career defines you as. Not being able to satisfy one client isn’t a failure – its a learning curve!

  2. Boo said

    Love this post! Such a breath of fresh air to read about real life, warts and all. Here’s one (of several) recent failures: I recently organized the construction of a playhouse for our children’s school auction. 6 people spent months constructing it for free, and we auctioned it off for an embarrassingly paltry sum. We didn’t even cover the costs let alone the volunteers’ time (which wasn’t the point, they knew they were volunteering, but still). We were crushed. One month later a person in the auction audience hired the volunteer architect and project manager to build the largest home/winery project in our valley. They said they were so impressed with the spirit of volunteerism and generosity that they couldn’t NOT hire them. Good karma. Good lessons. Goodness.

  3. My blessing in disguise was not getting the grades to get into the high school I wanted. I cried myself to sleep for at least a week but now looking back I’ve thrived, made amazing friends and met inspirational teachers. It taught me it’s not where you end up that matters but what you do with your time there! Beautiful post

  4. Thank you for sharing this! As a wedding planner, I have dealt with this same situation a few times. It is a tough spot to be in, especially when there isn’t an easy solution. I am highly sensitive and this sort of thing shuts me down. I toss and turn at night knowing that someone out there may not have the best opinion of me or my work and it eats away at me. But, giving up just isn’t an option.

    As long as there is a lesson learned then it is a lesson gained. Mistakes have to be made to become better. I have made major changes to my contracts because I had to endure something challenging that I didn’t plan for. Because I didn’t set myself up for my best success. Because a client wasn’t clear about what they expected from me and wanted more (like 24 hour and 4:30 am) access to me. I had to revise my terms to attract the best fit of clients for me, so I can be the best wedding planner I can be. Like you, I have the skills, but it all comes together seamlessly when I am working with a client that I am on the same page with. It is not always about winning the bids (yes, making a living is HUGELY important), it is also about getting a chance to work with people who will respect you for the professional you are.

    Some people are impossible to please. It is difficult when one of these individuals or organizations comes into your pipeline. You will spin your wheels like a madwoman and you still won’t have the traction you need to make them happy. I would love to reach success with no unhappy clients along my path, but I know it isn’t realistic. I am working on picking myself up and dusting myself off as well. The show must go on. Highs and lows are all part of owning a business. You are awesome and you got this! Thank you for opening up about this and I know firsthand that it is very difficult to experience.

    • Sarah Winchester said

      Thank you for sharing. I love how you put it. So funny how we do better work when we work with people who inspire us. And some just never gain “traction.” Love that analogy.

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