Last night one of our fellow Heretics asked me: “I know all of the ‘learn from your mistakes’, become stronger, and what not, but how do you really ‘deal’ with failing?”
I really don’t know. And I don’t believe that there is a cookie-cutter approach to dealing with failure.
Here is my story:
When my first startup went down the drain (we managed to sell the company shell and some assets in a fire sale to safe our investor’s face) I had my first spout with depression. Couldn’t get out of bed for days on end. Failing is freakin’ hard. There is no way around it. When you’re emotionally deeply vested in your idea; when you had people believe in you and give you their time, talent and money to follow your dream; when you kept telling the world that what you’re doing is the most amazing thing ever — realizing that it didn’t work out is just brutally painful. And I believe you need to allow yourself time for grieving. Come to terms with reality, let it sink in, learn your lessons. For me that meant grabbing a backpack and disappearing to Nicaragua for 3 months. No Internet, no contact with people I knew, in a country where I didn’t even speak the language.
Failing is hard. But then — if life sends us down the stony path, it gives us strong shoes. You are not alone.