This won't come as a surprise to anyone that attended our event with Paula McGuire last year, but I am a total failure. Yup. That's right. A failure.
I wonder how many people felt a little uncomfortable reading that sentence? We're so conditioned towards success and achievement, that we can't even conceive why anyone would admit to being anything else. Well, here at Bloom Scotland, we want to reclaim the word. We want to smash the taboo. We want to get so vulnerable that it makes Brene Brown weep.
When things don't go to plan, when our backs are against the wall, we have to dig deep, work out who we are and what we're willing to fight for. It's the things that make us Reroute in life that shape who we are.
The Perfection Myth
In today's Instaworthy #livingmybestlife world, it's important to remind each other that we all have struggles. That life doesn't go to plan for anyone. That even Michelle Obama (what a queen) got blindsided and had to give up her career to support her husband's political career. That wasn't her plan! And how was she to know all those years ago that he would become president?
We're all failures here
At our event on Growing through Failure, I told the room about my biggest failures. I wanted to share my story. And I want others to share their stories. I want to to become the norm to discuss what went wrong as much as what went right.
And not for the sympathy. Not for the likes or the shares. But for the humanity of it. To normalise failure. The bumps in the road.
We have put an unobtainable standard of perfection and happiness on a pedestal as if it's a basic human right. And we're crumbling under the pressure.
And so I will tell you what I told the women at that event. I told that at 25 years old I had achieved all my life's ambitions: I was married, running my own PR business, about to start a family. And thought my life an absolute success.
And at 27 years old I was jobless, husbandless, and near enough homeless. And thought my life an absolute failure.
Sure, it took a while to come back from such a big fall from grace, as I saw it then. But I'm back and better than ever. I've learnt who I want to be. I've learnt that doing a good job is better than recognition or a pat on the back. I've learnt that my motivation to "reach the top" was sending me down the wrong path. And I now strive to make a positive impact on my small corner of the world.
These things I wouldn't have learnt without going through what I went through.
Our wonderful Bloom Scotland writer, Emma Mulcahy, is launching a blog series called Reroute. She has been busy interviewing women from our industry (and beyond) that we admire about how their failures, missteps and accidental choices shaped who they are and what we now see as their successes. And often the heartache they suffered along the way.
Keep an eye out for Emma's first interview launching very soon with advertising powerhouse Olivia Dowling.