The F Word: How do New Zealand’s most successful people define failure?

Idealog has partnered with Callaghan Innovation to take a look the nature of failure in business – the good, the bad and the unintentionally educational. So we’re asking questions: Is there a stigma, in this country, around ‘failure’? Is it a good thing to ‘fail fast’? Would you be wary investing in start-up run by an entrepreneur with a string of failed businesses?

We’ll be presenting the results of our survey in a special feature – ‘The F Word’ – in the next issue of Idealog. In the lead up to that, we’ll be asking Kiwi high-fliers and heavy-hitters about what failure means to them, what they’ve learned, and what ‘mistakes’ they’re most proud of.

This time around we hit up Jessica Venning-Bryan, GM of brand at Flick (and recent addition to the PledgeMe board), and asked her to describe what failure has meant to her, and what it’s meant to her success.

Jessica Venning-Bryan

"Some of the most significant decisions in my life have come off the back of failure – but only because I learnt to reframe failures as opportunities. It sounds so cliché but it’s true!"

"When I was 30 I landed a job that, on the surface, epitomised ‘success’. But it soon became apparent that my values weren’t aligned with that organisation, and I was miserable."

"My definition of ‘success’ had been completely disrupted – I felt like everything I’d been chasing in my career was flawed. I felt like a failure despite the appearance of success."

"A mentor told me to lose my ego and chase what makes me happy instead."

"I realised success to me was having ownership of my own time, doing meaningful work, and collaborating with clever and creative people. I left that job to run my own consultancy for five years, and then got involved with starting Flick – the most exciting and enriching thing I’ve ever done."

"When you can remove your ego from the failure, and focus on the opportunity, failures are catalytic in all the right ways."

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And if the above has got you in the mood to answer some questions of your own, go here to take the Idealog/Callaghan Innovation survey on Kiwi attitudes to entrepreneurial failure (five minutes, promise) and go in the draw to win one of two groovy thousand dollar watches from Tissot