Article

Helena Mcaleer
Helena Mcaleer 5 November 2014
Categories Social Media

I'm a Failure Too!

Beverly Jackson Head of Social Marketing at Yahoo! recently spoke at Inspiration: Think Again 2014 and this is how it inspired me.

I was delighted to see Beverly Jackson from Yahoo! speak at this year’s inspiration event. From what I had seen on social media and read about her online it was clear to see that she was a true inspiration and why she had been chosen to speak at this event. 

Engaging from the offset, Beverly approached her inspiring talk not only from the point of view of the Head of Social for Yahoo! but also as a “wife, daughter, friend, boss, mentor, mentee;” and would discuss how she got to where she is now despite everything.


The illegitimate lovechild of a high school dropout and a migrant farm worker, they married to raise her and give her the best life possible. This affected Beverly’s decisions in early life, this motivated her to push and to succeed in everything she took on, she was always moving forward, trying to achieve, trying to succeed, not only for herself but also her family, a goal that she not necessarily create but was created for her.
 

Instantly Beverly described herself as a professional failure, a strong statement to come from such a powerful character; to admit what is perceived as a fundamental flaw.  Beverly admitted her first major failure was losing her first job and in doing so felt she had let down her family, friends and even her community. It is easy to see why Beverly saw this as a massive failure and how she became overwhelmed by this failure.

Being “working class” Beverly picked herself up and dusted herself off and after taking some time to regroup went on to what was then perceived as the height of her success. A great job, a great marriage, 2 houses on either side of the coast as she and her dog would fly across the country first class. Personal circumstances then once again prevailed and this all again disappeared and Beverly found herself once again ‘failing’. 

“The best thing about failing is that eventually you get up and eventually you find your way forward and eventually, eventually you will succeed.”


All failures are not equal, as Beverly pointed out, some are from poor preparation, maybe you let someone take control of your destiny and some happen simply because you take on too much. Many of these I am familiar with, as I believe is everyone. We all face failure at some point in our lives and it is comforting to hear a successful, independent, woman from such a working class background openly discuss that failures happen and it is not the failures that define us but how we react to these failures.

Taking this perspective towards failure and transferring it to the digital marketing world, Beverly explained that as the Digital Marketing world is constantly transforming it is 100% acceptable to assume that in this field we will also fail. We are constantly looking for the next thing; the next project; the next big person and in this process we need to stop sometimes and let the bad stuff happen so the good stuff can come to the top.  “Do not fear failure, for if you fear it, it will encompass you and suck you under… find a way to stand your ground and face your fear.” “Be Brave Enough to fail” and that applies to not only your own personal circumstances but also in our creative and business decisions and risk taking.

Failure we now realise is inevitable but in dealing with failure, if we put all our energy into not failing in something that is inevitable then we won’t have the energy to get back up! This was a huge eye opener for me. We are all guilty of this, the fear of failure is bigger than the failure itself, it is often in these failures that we can actually learn the most about ourselves/ our colleagues/ our business’.

Being a creative/ a digital marketer/ an individual or in Beverly’s case a “unicorn”, no matter what, you have to be yourself and fail in a way that works best for you, own your skill set and the failures become less harsh and less often. It would be easy to say that they will stop but we all know that failures never stop, so...

Be Yourself!

 

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