• Susanne Birgersdotter

There are certain things that only failure can teach us. I thought I could learn from others’ mistakes. That was how I was trained. Be smart. Learn from others’ mistakes so you don’t have to suffer the consequences of the blunder. I was smart enough to acknowledge the principle and practice it most of my life. But I wasn’t smart enough to know that there are certain things only failure can teach us, until I failed miserably.

While growing up, I can say that I’ve escaped a lot of epic blunders in life by learning the lessons from other’s mistakes. I observe, read, and acknowledge the things that are happening around me. I’m a quick learner. If a friend got into trouble for something, I’m sure to not repeat it. If I can avoid a situation from learning about it, I will avoid it.

But I am also a risk-taker.

While my intellect provided me the courage to take risks, it didn’t keep me from making a few mistakes of my own. I would soon realize that when you take risks, failure is bound to happen. Although it will minimize the occurrence, no amount of diligence and learning can protect you from making a mistake. I have made a lot of mistakes. From small stupid mistakes to grand epic blunders. And looking back through my journey as an entrepreneur, I am thankful for all those missteps for each of them came with valuable lessons.

I cannot stress enough on the importance of failure to your success. It is part of our journey as an entrepreneur and an individual. Success is impossible without failure. Every successful woman is proud of her failures and will wear them as a badge of her success.

Failure will force us to learn and relearn things. It will redirect us to a better way. It will make us stronger in character and more adept in business and in life. It will drive us beyond our limits, to realize unknown returns. Failure will make us wiser, stronger, and better persons.

And then, there is one more important realization only failure can teach you – who’s got your back.

Failures will either make you or break you. It is life’s way of screening the worthy from the unsuitable, the persistent from the undeserving. It is also the only way you will know who’s with you.

You will never know who will pick you up if you don’t fall. Who will stick by your side when the going gets tough? Who will fight your fight when you’re too weak for it?

It is easy to gain trust and support when you’re at the peak of success. When you’re on the roll and at the top of your game, people will fight for a spot next to you or near you. We are naturally drawn to bright lights and shiny things, that include money and success. On the contrary, we abhor failure and disappointments. We run and stay away from it.

Except when we truly believe in and love the person. In this exception, we stick around.

And failure is the only way for us to know who will stick around for us. There will be no two-faced support once you’re down in the gutter. There will be no fake smiles, compliments, and admiration. An epic failure will quickly clean up your friends’ list, take away masks of friendship and support, and will give you a clearer vision of who you really are and who’s with you.

In an industry where networking is essential, it is hard to distinguish snakes from dogs, goats from sheep. You can easily get drunk with the adoration and attention that come with success that you will never fully see and separate your true believers from the fair-weather friends. Who is wearing a mask and who is being truthful?

I’ve had my share of glorious successes and pitiful failures. I’ve been the belle of the ball and the center of attention, but I’ve also languished in misery and failure. While happy times have brought in many of my colleagues, friends, and family, only a few came when I was down. While my successes brought me a lot of new friends, failure highlighted the true ones. This is a gift only failure can give.