Nikki Durkin, founder of 99dresses, had a great post on the failure of her start-up.
She describes the crazy journey in great detail and talks about her emotions following the failure.
“Most startups fail, and yet this industry doesn’t talk about failure nearly enough. I’d encourage anyone who has failed to write about how it felt, as I can’t tell you how much that would have helped me in those final months & weeks. I just wanted someone to relate to. Instead, I was left feeling isolated and ashamed.”
Having failed a fair bit, I can feel a part of her pain. In some ways, I can empathize with how Nikki must feel.
So, is failure good or bad?
I think it is neither.
At the risk of sounding overly philosophical, it just is. It is an event. It happens to most of us and to some a lot more than to others.
Many pay lip service to the idea of celebrating failure.
They only celebrate failure if/when it leads to eventual success. That is when you are lauded and celebrated for having persisted.
I take a different view.
I think an event can only be termed as a failure if you didn’t grow through the experience.
Yes, Nikki’s start-up may have failed but I would term her experience a success, she is grown through it, learnt a lot more about herself than many would over a lifetime, and has set herself up for a lot of happiness in the years to come.
Joy would not feel good if it was not for pain after all and it takes a few hard experience to really understand how good a life we lead.
I’m sure she will be a source of great encouragement and support to other entrepreneurs.
Nikki, thanks for your heartfelt post. It matters. It made me think. And, as you might tell from this slightly scattered collection of thoughts, I’m still thinking.
This blog has been built on the belief that you don’t fail, you only learn.
And, in that spirit, you have made a big difference sharing your story for us all to learn from.
And that is success in my book.