HOW IT FEELS TO FAIL
I have been a failure at things throughout my entire life. I dropped out of university (twice), didn’t manage to get a job after around 1000 applications in two years, didn’t manage to successfully learn an instrument… I could go on. There’s not many things I can consider personal successes. I passed my GCSEs and A-Levels with average grades, and once I won a competition by having a lot of makeup brushes (the prize was more makeup brushes). But that’s all I can think of.
My newest failure is something I’ve been working on for three years – my YouTube channel. This is partially out of my control – the notifications don’t always work, my videos have stopped appearing in some people’s subscription feed and I’m also getting less reach to non-subscribers than usual. But the internet is, well, the internet, and I have to take the responsibility. My content just isn’t getting the views I need to make a living from YouTube.
The actual reason I failed isn’t important, it’s the feeling it gives you. No matter what job you have – but I think it’s mostly relevant to those who are self-employed and/or started their own business – failing at your career that you’ve worked to build up is a harsh life lesson.
No matter how hard you work, no matter how many hours you put in and no matter how desperately you want something, it’s not always going to happen. There’s always an element of luck, especially with a platform that’s out of your control and doubly so with it being on the internet, and I wouldn’t say I’m a very lucky person. I tried. I tried the hardest I’ve tried at anything in my entire life. But I still failed. That’s just life.
They say the only real failure is not trying again, so I haven’t quit entirely. I’ve gone part-time, but I no longer consider YouTube my job. Instead, I’m applying for ‘real world’ jobs, book-writing and looking for freelance opportunities. If YouTube works out for me in the future, great. If not, then that’s okay too.
HOW IT FEELS
I think it’s probably pretty obvious how I personally feel. I failed at something I worked so hard at because I loved it so much. To admit to myself and others that it just didn’t work out for me is both embarrassing and heartbreaking. I feel like I’ve proved the haters right – I couldn’t do it.
As my failed career involves other people, in that strangers on the internet follow me and watch my content, I felt like I’d let all 6450 of them down. That’s a large amount of people to disappoint. I can’t imagine how it would feel if you had clients or employees to let go as well.
It’s easy to get very low during this time. The weight of failure is a heavy one. It’s difficult not to dwell on it, especially if, like me, you’re very well-addressed with the feeling of failure. Social media doesn’t help – there’s so much pressure for the ‘perfect life’ and when you’re scrolling through hundreds of seemingly-successful people’s photographs, it can feel like you’re the only person who isn’t doing well. You just have to remember that social media isn’t real life. In fact, I proved it in a video.
Its a confusing time. You don’t know what the future will bring. You feel like the past wasn’t worth it. But I think the most important thing to do is analyse where you went wrong, if you did, and learn from those mistakes.
I am determined to succeed at something. I still want to forge my own career (and not just end up working in an office or in retail – that kind of thing just isn’t for me) and I want to write a book, too. Every time I fail I get a little bit hardier. I’m not a strong person (emotionally and physically) by any means, but I do think your failures shape you more than your successes do. So I’m okay. And you will be too.