“It was a fairly stressful last couple of years and it took a while to get my confidence up and get confident to start up again.”
These are the words of Michael Fox speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald for the first time after the collapse of his multimillion-dollar international shoe empire Shoes of Prey. Fox was making his debut back into the limelight and did so with style, grace and poise.
Admitting failure is never easy, and in the transparent digital era we are in, hiding failure is impossible. Unless you plan to live with a big, shiny, pink elephant following you around, pretending it didn’t happen is also futile.
Truth is, if there was ever a time in history to fail, the best time is now.
Get business news first
Sign up to SmartCompany’s daily newsletter
The concept of failure is definitely having its time in the sun.
In fact, in Silicon Valley, the mantra is that ‘failing is a good thing’. Google employees are publicly applauded by their co-workers and supervisors for their failures and are often rewarded with time off to contemplate what their next project will be.
If that is not enough to convince you, perhaps heed the words of James Quincey, chief executive officer at The Coca-Cola Company: “If we’re not making mistakes, we’re not trying hard enough.”
It is through our failures, defeat and mistakes we find the strength we never thought we had. It is because of these lows that we are forced to question our values and learn new things about ourselves, business and life in general.
It is these learnings that contribute greatly to who we are as individuals, our story and, ultimately, our personal brand. When we lean into this truth, we may discover new meaning and purpose in all that we have been through.
So, if you have had a date with failure, and it is time for you to relaunch yourself and your personal brand back into the marketplace, here are three tips that may help you on your journey.
1. Consider a makeover (and new profile shot)
If there was ever a perfect time for a makeover, it is now.
Making a fresh start ultimately starts from within, but demonstrating it to others can start from the outside. Try a new hairstyle, wear a new colour, or embrace a new look.
By no means am I suggesting you need to pretend to be anything you are not, but consider that maybe it is time to show a new side of yourself?
All the major fashion outlets offer a complimentary personal shopping service and it is a great way to get a new perspective on what suits you. Get your hair done, invest in some grooming and allow yourself to ‘feel’ new.
And don’t be afraid to share your new look online. There is nothing like a new profile shot to shout new beginnings.
2. Discover a new who, what and why
Communicating your story with purpose starts with getting clear on it in your own mind. Putting aside all fear and logic, take the time to ask yourself the following questions.
- What do I want to achieve and why?
- What do I want to represent and why?
- Who do I want to influence and why?
Look at the answers you have written down and reflect upon how your recent failure will help you achieve your new vision.
Do not skip this step and put it down to a waste of time. Your clarity will show through in how you speak and write about your new start.
3. Share what you have learnt
Be open and share the lessons you have learnt. This allows you to be of service to others and put everything into perspective. Social media allows us all to control our story and to tell it in our own words.
I do believe in some instances, depending on your level of influence, it also makes sense to tell your story via an interview with credible third-party media outlets.
You never know, you might even have a book to write about your experience of failure. You could literally take a page out of Lisa Messenger’s book Daring and Disruptive in which she shares her story and offers advice on failing well.
The most important thing to do is get back out there.
Do not hide away, life is too short.
Just because you experienced failure, does not mean you are a failure, if anything, you are actually right on-trend.