Have you ever considered yourself to be a failure? Have you been so drawn to depression to a point where you despaired even of life and felt like taking it away would have been the easier way out? I have been there before and so I know how it feels and what it is like to be in that position where it appears as if after all the effort and struggle, you only turned out to be one of the most epic failures that ever walked the earth. Life’s hard, real hard, incredibly hard!!! Sometimes we wonder why things happen the way they do. When I think about the abducted girls in Nigeria who up on till today 25th August, 2014 have not been found, it really breaks my heart. I sometimes ask myself questions like what could they possibly be going through? How would they be feeling in the heart of that forest or wherever they may be now? Why would such a thing befall them I mean for crying out loud they had better dreams and aspirations concerning the kind of life they wanted to lead. Not being separated from the rest of the world and taken into some forest like wild animals. Or when you think about the struggles some people have to go through from the time they were born to the time they die. All these questions are questions you and I can’t answer.

Well, this only happens to poor people you may say. With wealth and influence why would I have to consider myself a failure? Surprisingly, the rich and seemingly successful are not exempted too. They sure do have their own major issues. We hear countless stories of successful Hollywood actors, actresses, movie producers, Grammy Award winning singers and songwriters committing suicide or going to rehab on a daily basis. At the root of this most times is the feeling of being a failure despite everything and the need for the void within their souls to be filled by something far greater than owning private yachts and beaches in choice locations around the world. A Grammy award or a couple million bucks, Bugatti’s and Bentley’s don’t mean a thing to a dead man and neither does a Nobel Prize matter to someone suffering from cancer. At the end of the day, it all boils down to what really matters to us in life. There are people who have bounced back from besetting circumstances to make an impact in life while others in the same situation or even better have chopped it up to their last glorious failure and called it quits. Failure is not a destination unless you make it so. It is normal to fail in life but the lessons learned are of tremendous value. Mark Twain once said that, “He who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.” There is something that trying and failing does to a man that one hundred hours of speculations and analysis wouldn’t do. My first venture in the start-up world turned out to be a massive failure and more embarrassingly ended up at the Police Station! I had never seen myself in such a position but yes it resorted to that as the final solution to settling the dispute.

As fresh graduates from the University, we started a non-profit making organization to help inspire people to live a more impactful life by bringing positive change to their communities and the wider world. I had the privilege of leading this organization as its first President and Board Chair. As entrepreneurial as we all were, after months and months of market analysis and feasibility studies we came up with a well-thought out and written business plan for a “Call Box” business. We got an attendant and a great location as well as a manager to handle operations. It felt good to be an employer of labour as we bragged in our own little way of reducing the rate of unemployment in our country by 2 people. That was no small feat! We had big dreams to grow our business to become one churning out huge profits annually but little did we know what awaited us. As the months counted upwards, our revenue counted downwards. We finally decided to pull the plug on this money sucking beast as we kept raising and dumping money into this thirsty Black hole. I set up an adhoc committee to find out what was going on. It was there we discovered some very nasty things that had been taking place under our eyes;

  • The attendant had used the salary we were paying her to buy her own phone and was now using our location, desk and everything to push her own business forward.
  • The attendant for a while had not been going to work under the guise that she was sick.
  • The attendant literally used that spot and its perfect location to begin another business of selling fruits and certain other provisions.
  • The manager we appointed had not been following up on the business as he ought to have.
  • The manager refused to pay the attendant at some point and this caused her to seize the phones we gave her for the business thereby stalling operations until we were ready to pay her what we owed.
  • And finally, we didn’t know anything about all of this making it one heck of a mess!
    The day we decided to confront the attendant she told us that she wasn’t going to give our phones back. And that was how we found ourselves in the nearest Police Station. In the end our initial investment and the extra funds we had raised later to push the business went down the drain. We lost everything and finally had to liquidate the remaining assets to get something to even share amongst ourselves. We failed and I who happened to be at the helm of leadership, holding its reins as President and Board Chair considered myself to have been one big failure! But the good news here is that the experience prepared me for many other things that were going to come down the road. Don’t let your past failures affect your future winnings.

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