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Dealing with Failure

Tue, 01 July 2014

Contributed by Jamie Dunn, Director of Spark Global Education
The first thing to say is that failure happens. It’s unavoidable. The best people and businesses in the world fail occasionally, and that’s why they become great at what they do. If we succeeded at everything all of the time we really wouldn’t learn anything and, without learning, we would never progress forward. 
I know what it’s like starting up and being so cautious about avoiding failure – well, the sooner you accept that things will go wrong, the better. Human nature makes us worry ourselves with all of the scenarios that might happen, but you should focus your mind and your business to deal with what will happen, and that is failure. Failing is the first step to succeeding because, without failure, we will never progress, learn and develop our skills. 
Here is how I deal with failure: 
  • Relax; it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes we get so caught up in the situation at the time that we make rash decisions and even more mistakes, and that’s because we are focusing so much on righting the immediate wrong that we don’t take time to digest it and think about it properly. Every time that I fail at something important I run a nice hot bath, have a beer and totally switch off from everything and everyone for a full hour. This hour allows my brain time to digest the situation, switch off from it and completely relax to a point of calm. After this hour, my mind feels refreshed and I look at the situation in a new light.
  • Write it down. Each time I fail at something, I have a physical list that I write it down on. The list must easily have over 100 entries on there but I scan through it once per week and it ensures that I don’t make the same mistakes twice.
  • Know that everybody fails. Some people don’t like to admit it, but we have all failed at something. I remember when I starting failing at things, I started to doubt my ability, to doubt my surroundings and it had an effect on my confidence but when I realized that we all fail at something, it made me feel a lot better. There is nothing that you can fail at that somebody hasn’t failed at before and it’s a comforting feeling knowing that it has happened to somebody else and the world isn’t against us, it’s life. 
So, those are the three ways in which I deal with failure. I fail on a regular basis but that’s why I also succeed. I appreciate and take value from each and every failure because I look for the lesson in each of them, as opposed to seeing them as a negative process. 

About Jamie Dunn (Director of ‘Spark Global Education')

Jamie is a 22 year-old Entrepreneur that has previously been short-listed as one of the Top 20 Young People in the World 2012, a title once held by former US President, John F Kennedy. 
Jamie started in enterprise aged 12 selling unwanted items at school. By the time he was 15 he was making around £500 per week from 5 market stalls across Birmingham. At the age of 16, Jamie left school with little qualifications but won a place on the Peter Jones Pathfinder course as one of 28 from nationwide applicants, with this he moved to Buckinghamshire for 6 months. 
Aged 18, Jamie Co-founded the printing organization, Made By Young People that eventually held clients such as, Aston Villa, Ikea and Asda. Jamie successfully exited this business aged 20. Since then, Jamie has gone on to work with Governments and Educational Organizations from around the World on developing Youth Entrepreneurship eco-systems. Most notably, Jamie was an adviser to the Malaysian Government office surrounding enterprise education. During this time, Jamie also co-founded a multi-million pound investment fund, which provides mentoring, office space, finance and support to young people in the West Midlands who are setting up in business. 
Jamie now spends most of his time as a Director, Shareholder in Spark Global Education, an educational consultancy with operations globally. As an investor, Jamie has equity interests in different sectors ranging from Recruitment to Technology. Jamie also sits on, and advises many different boards and trusts including the BMET Enterprise Academy, Arrive Alive, TechMinsk and Arden Forest FC. Jamie also writes regular columns for, Shell LiveWire and various other publications and websites.

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