“Whether you’ve lost your job, started a business that didn’t work out, went on a shitty blind date, ended up losing a game or had a project fall through, failing is one of the most important and necessary things you must do at least twice in your life.” – CD
Go grab a glass of wine friend (or coffee depending on the time of day!), because we need to have a serious talk. Over the past four months I’ve launched a business (I’ve now learned that doing this during the Summer is not the best idea, unless it’s a Summer based business), ran around the city looking for clients, attending events, talking with everyone and anyone I could get a lead from. And what was the result? Two clients, seven leads, and a pay cheque to pay cheque lifestyle. But that’s okay, because what I’ve learned on personal and business level is irreplaceable. But we will get into that another time. Also, don’t think that I’m giving up, I just need to adapt my plan.
Having recently relocated to Toronto, I don’t really know anyone. I had arrived with a job, but it wasn’t what I wanted. It actually caused extremely loud sighs of exhaustion, a commute that was as long as crossing a river in 1896, and a level of internal disorganization that started making my hair go grey. Don’t get me wrong, the people were great. But, I really didn’t want anymore grey hairs at 25. So I quit to start my own business.
Four months later, some potential job offers, lots of late nights questioning myself, and “What the fuck am I doing?” moments, I have come to learn how to celebrate failing. At the same time I haven’t really failed, but of course my business isn’t taking off anytime soon. So, in a way it did fail.
Before we continue, how’s your wine or coffee? Do you need a refill? You should take care of that now. It’s better if you’re relaxed while reading this post.
Now on to the big prize: How do you celebrate failing? Here are seven ways to do so…
7. Find a great fucking outfit.
In at the big numéro sept, find yourself a great fucking outfit. If you’re gonna celebrate failing you’ve got to look doing it. Just because one situation hasn’t worked out for you doesn’t mean you’re off the leash of taking care of yourself. Go find that outfit that makes you feel like a winner. Wear it around your house. To the grocery store. Down the street to get coffee. Whatever you do, make that you’re go-to outfit. Put it on while you’re failing. No one can bring you down, you look fucking great!
6. Make a “failure board”.
Now that you look great, head on down to the closest Dollarama, and buy a big white piece of bristol board. Or whatever colour that you like. Avoid yellow, apparently it’s a “hostile colour”. If you don’t have markers, I suggest you get some of those too. When you get home start creating your “failure board”. Add images, words, quotes, lessons learned, pictures of you sad, happy and passed out on your bathroom floor, curled up in a ball crying. That picture is extra important. Once you’re board is done put it somewhere you can see it everyday. This failure board is a reminder of how courageous you are. The risk taking, smart, go-getter person who knows that the road to whatever you’re trying to do is never ending. Be damn proud of that board, you made it, it’s a success.
5. Teach yourself a new talent.
Wanna learn how to speak french? How about juggle? Stand on your head? Sure, why the hell not! I mean, you’ve got the time now. Take the time you would spend whining, crying, and feeling sorry for brave, badass self, and learn something new. It doesn’t matter what you choose to learn, just learn something you’ve always wanted to learn. I mean, this is a celebration friend! You’ve got to teach yourself a new party trick if you want to celebrate properly. And plus, maybe that talent is your real calling.
4. Clean your space.
Okay, I’m serious about this one. If you’re gonna celebrate you need a clean space. You need to get rid of all the old, and make way for the new, mature you! But don’t throw out any important papers or anything, that could be bad. Take some time to go through your old clothes, books, do the dishes, clean the fridge, mop the floors….yadda yadda. Cleaning your space will help you feel renewed, and ready. A clean space is a clean mind. I suggest not wearing your “failure outfit” while doing this though, you’re going to need to keep that clean for later.
(SIDE NOTE): How are you doing with your coffee or wine? Still good to go? Cool, let’s continue then.
3. Take a nap.
After spending many sleepless nights, early mornings and caffeine highs, you’re probably exhausted. So, go take a nap. It’s time to chill out for 30 minutes. You’ve got your outfit, made a board, learned a new talent, and cleaned your space. I’m exhausted even thinking about all that. No, but seriously, if you’re a real entrepreneur (or winner) you probably haven’t slept in a while, and are working on empty energy. So, now that you’ve failed, it’s time to take a nap. Get some much deserved rest. You’ve earned it, and don’t you dare think for a minute you didn’t. What you did was fucking awesome, but it’s also not the end. You’re gonna need to rest up for what’s ahead.
2. Write an email to your close friends and family.
Now that you’re all nice and rested, grab a tea, coffee or beverage of choice, sit at your desk and open your email. It’s time to whip up an email for friends and family telling them that you’ve failed. But why Cassie, why? Well, because there’s no reason for you to be ashamed of anything. You’re gonna write a nice email (or a couple) asking them how they’re doing, mention what’s been going on with you, and how much you realize that the small things (and most important) in life aren’t jobs, but family and good friends. Which is true, and I’ve hoped you learned this along your way to failing.
At the end of the email invite them all over for a party at your place. Don’t forget to tell them you love them, and think about them!
1. Throw yourself a “failure” party.
Did you guess this is where we’d end up? You smart cookie, you! Well, you’ve got an outfit, a piece of art to show off, a new talent, a clean space, and lots of rest….which means, it’s time for a failure party. No celebration is complete without a little shin-dig. One of the most important lessons you probably learned along your road to failing (or I have anyway) is: The most important things in life aren’t who you are or what you do, but who you love and what you have. I know I just said this, but I really wanna drive it in your head.
Often we get so caught up with ourselves, our jobs and power hungry attitudes, that we lose sight of what’s in front of us. We start taking the small things for granted. Having a good cup of coffee. Laughing. Walking. Being able to go outside or stay inside. All these little small things make up the big things. We can’t forget them, because these people, those things, they don’t forget about you. And you know what? They’re damn proud of you. So celebrate them. Celebrate what you’ve learned, who you are, where you’re going and who’s important in your life. Just because this didn’t work out, doesn’t mean shit. It actually means something better is out there for you.
For those who are brave, who try new things, start businesses, go on blind dates, give their all…you are the real winners. Many people go through life without ever looking up, and what you’ve done, and are going to do is all that matters. There’s no time to waste being upset. Spend that time celebrating instead. You’ve earned it. Now get yourself dressed, and go. It’s time to embrace and celebrate failing.
ps: if you still need some inspiration check out these articles:17 People Who Were Fired Before They Became Rich and Famous, and If You Haven’t Failed, Then Maybe You’re Aren’t A Real Entrepreneur.