I recently experienced a setback in my professional life, which has left me in a tailspin. It’s been an island of shame and questioning of whether I chose the best career path, if I’m truly capable, and if I am “smart enough.” In this Facebook era of humblebrags and boastful moments where people post about their minute victories (“I’ve been ridiculously productive all day!”) to their true accomplishments (“I want to thank my team for getting us to Regionals…”), it’s hard to express anything but triumphs. Goal-setting (yes, I do it, too), positivity groups, internet memes and quotes advocating “Never. Lose. Hope.” tend to feel like Tony Robbins stepped into my personal world uninvited and leaves no space for an alternative experience or opinion. I feel like Negative Nancy even suggesting staying with the feeling of sadness and grieving my loss, rather than “looking on the bright side.” As someone who is generally and genuinely optimistic, even this is too much for me. This island is lonely and yet, I can’t be the only one who feels uncomfortable with the advice to “keep my chin up no matter what” or other benign platitudes that don’t speak to specific events.
I’m starting this blog to overcome my setback in an authentic way that acknowledges feelings of defeat, failure, loneliness, shame, sadness, grief, and anger. I’ll be interviewing people who have experienced defeat and failure and who are on the rise. I don’t know what will come from this, but hoping to gain insight to my own process and learn from other people about how they felt and during these seemingly impossible times. Some friends have suggested that my failure was really for the highest good for me and all others concerned. At this moment, I don’t feel that way… but then when I look at case studies of successful people who faltered and eventually got up again, I wonder if that could be me, too.
I’ll be interviewing real people about their real experiences with setbacks, defeats, and failures.