Failure as a Social Entrepreneur
Regardless of your experience; there is nothing initially glamourous about failure. As raised in the report, initial feelings are demotivating; we might go one step further to call it paralysing!
Now lets take into consideration the Social Entrepreneur who has the plans of providing societal change; change that is needed but for whatever reason has not been addressed. The majority of people surrounding you most likely have no idea why you’re involving yourself with such problems, asking:
· Why don’t you just focus on yourself and your pockets?
· What makes you think you can make the change?
· If it hasn’t been done, surely there is a reason, right?
You’re almost left feeling like you’ve failed coming straight out the gates, this leads some Social Entrepreneurs to stop and reassess their choice. But others are left feeling more motivated and hold on to that vision of success even tighter; failure isn’t part of this plan, regardless of how big or small.
Speaking about failure
So you arrive at your first failure! Shame, uncertainty, anger; these are all feelings that are likely to surface.
The last thing you'd want to do is celebrate! Why?
Well firstly “reality” starts to dawn on you and you realise you might not actually achieve your goals. Secondly, those you confided in initially; didn’t reciprocate the confidence that your plans were going to be successful. Who do you turn to?
This is a bitter pill to swallow, not only have your chances of achieving long term success been tarnished but maybe even your image as an entrepreneur.
If we eventually summon up the courage to speak about the experience, for some strange reason we speak about it from a position of success. We discredit the reality of the experience and paint a picture of how we were able to get through it unscathed. In essence we patronise audiences and give them a load of bullshit.
Changing the narrative
The current narrative doesn’t do much to help Social Entrepreneurs let their guard down and speak about some of the challenges they might face in their quest to achieve success. Too much emphasis on the "rags to riches story” does more harm than good, often leaving us with more questions than answers.
There needs to be an honest account of the whole process, emphasis on the initial feelings and tools used to deal with the experience. Whether or not one as has failed in the past means nothing, all that is important is how they have responded to failure.
Bosun & Moses