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James Routledge #newsletter #123 #failure

James Routledge
Someone asked me to write about my “career” recently. 

Yet, when I think about the broad notion of “career” and “purpose.” 

I think about failure. 

I believe I have found purpose in my work, or perhaps better put - I feel purposeful in what I do. 

That changes and it moves and I’ve had times where I’ve felt like I had no purpose on this planet whatsoever. 

I've felt like a complete and utter failure at many times in my life.

Yet I know that one thing I do well, is that I fail really well. I'm great at failing, really great at it.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some of my headline failures:  

  • I failed to get into the University of Nottingham to study Economics with French.

  • I failed at being in OTC (Officer Training Corps) at University.

  • I failed to complete my degree in History and Politics at University of Sheffield. 

  • Nightfider (nightclub ticketing app with George) - never launched 

  • Some t-shirt business idea I had - only ever lived in a spreadsheet 

  • Studentnotes (plagarism, essentially) - never launched

  • Selling stuff on ebay - one product, never sold

  • I failed my first business - matchchat

  • I failed to be a “CEO"

  • I failed to return money to investors (succeeded in losing around £400,000)

  • I really failed hard 3 years ago and failed to talk about my mental health for 12 months,

  • I failed at being a venture capitalist

  • I failed at continuing to run Sanctus Groups

  • I failed at continuing to run Sanctus Talks

  • I fail every day.

  • I failed to write this newsletter weekly last year.

  • I’m failing to get my point across well in this piece of writing.

I failed at “projects”, such as:   
I’ve tried on many different cloaks and some have failed to fit me, or I failed to fit them.

I took them off, or burned them or they burned me.

I’ve found different parts of my self, some that I like, some that I don't and I’ve failed myself many times. 

I’ve failed to be myself many times. 

Through these failures and this pain I’ve picked up scars and wounds that have stayed with me. The failures live on, their shadows are still with me.

Failing at stuff and failing to be a certain type of person has been the best work experience I’ve ever had.  

I still fail all the time, yet I’ve learned that the biggest failure is a failure to be me.

When I’m not myself, when i’m not true to myself, then I fail myself. 

All else, all other failure is the journey, it’s the process. 

I will fail many more times. 

Yet, I'll never "be a failure", I'll be James.

Unless I fail to be James

Then, I have failed me and I have failed you.