3 October 2019

LJ conversation - listening skills in leadershipCreativity is a fickle thing isn’t it. At the times when you need it most, it fails you. At the times when you’re set on one idea, another, better one, pops into your head. So, what about when it works?

When that crazy idea becomes successful beyond anything you could have imagined, how do you maintain your creativity then, when you’re expected to replicate the success of your last idea?

Suddenly the freedom that you once had to create alongside what you love becomes immense pressure. When you’re failing, it’s no skin off your nose if you fail again; you keep trying. When you’re following something successful, suddenly failure becomes the worst thing in the world.

You have a couple of options in that instance – you can give up, be happy with what you achieved with that initial success and move on. But what about if the thing that you’ve been successful in is your passion? Could you give it up so easily?

The second option is to carry on. To face the fear of failure and just go for it.

That’s the advice of author Elizabeth Gilbert in her TED Talk. Gilbert write the wildly successful Eat, Pray, Love. Her second book, in her words, ‘bombed’. Yet she was fine. In fact, that failure removed the pressure from the thing that she once loved the most. Once again, she was able to write because that’s what she loved doing. And more success followed.

The Secret of Success

Her advice? Identify the thing that you love most and build your house right on top of it. Whether you have a great success or a great failure, keep doing what you love again and again and again.

I couldn’t agree more. This is why passion for what you do is so incredibly important. When you’re passionate about it, you give it your all – whether you succeed or fail, you love it just as much. Without that passion, the pressure to replicate success is simply too much and I would bet that 99% of people give up at this point.

I’ve been there – how do you start again after selling a successful business? What if it doesn’t work this time around? I was in that position just before setting up UKFast. Now, I could stop. I could rest on the laurels of UKFast, but that’s not me. I love what I do, and that’s why I continue to invest and move into new areas of the business. It is exciting and I can’t imagine ever giving that up.

So, today, I ask you: are you passionate enough about what you do to continue through both success and failure? If you’re immediate, quick-fire, gut response isn’t yes, I would ask yourself why.


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