My FIGGI Life Podcast

Failure is Normal!

Episode Summary

Failure is not a person, its not losing and its not a loss. It's part of life, but we make it the demon in the closet. We are joined by Sonia Teles Fernandes and today we take the gloves off, and openly talk about failing.

Episode Notes

Jeanne is joined by Sonia Teles Fernandes who shares her inspiring views on Failure. They discuss the how Failure is defined by society, and how these societal expectations affect our view of what Failure is and looks like to us. They take a deep dive into the fear that comes with failure and explore, in detail, why its the monster hiding in the closet. Sonia tells us about her own personal failure stories, how she founded and event on failure (which failed), and what came from that.

The episode explores how we see and interact with Failure in our lives. Sonia draws on the important differences between winning and losing, failure and achievement, and how these confusing views we have of the latter impact our journey with Failure.

Find Sonia Teles Fernandes on Twitter, LinkedIn, and online.

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Episode Transcription

[00:00:00.310] - Jeanne

Good morning, FIGGI Goddess, and welcome to the My FIGGI Life podcast with me, Jeanne. Today is a super interesting episode because I have my really good friend on the podcast today, Sonia Fernandes, and I am so glad that I can introduce her to you and that we can have an awesome conversation about failure. I think it's such an important topic to discuss because it's something that we are confronted with daily, especially if we are in the professional environment and we are trying to juggle so many different things. Failure is just one of those things that are bound to happen. So I met Sonia in Portugal. As you know, if you listen to the FIGGI Life podcast, my husband and I are South African and we moved to Portugal and her son is in the same class as my little girl. So Sonia is Portuguese with a hint of Australian, actually, and she thrives on ideas and making them happen. She says, unfortunately, not all these ideas should be made to happen, but that and hindsight has never stopped her, and I can totally agree with that. Her career started off in human resource management, swerved to communication and social media, and then broke out into event organization.

 

[00:01:22.760] - Jeanne

She took a sharp left turn into translating and is now bumping along the content creation and copywriting road to wherever that takes her. And I'm so happy to have you on the episode today. Thank you so much for making time for me and for coming on the FIGGI Life podcast.

 

[00:01:39.340] - Sonia

You're very welcome. Thank you for having me.

 

[00:01:41.440] - Jeanne

I am so excited about the topic we're discussing today and I'm so excited to get into it. But first, let's welcome you properly to the FIGGI podcast and we will see you again in a few seconds.

 

[00:01:54.340] - Intro

Welcome, Goddess, to your sacred space. This is the My FIGGI Life podcast, where we openly discuss life's wins and losses on our journeys to self-discovery. This is your best life. This is your FIGGI life. And now here's your host, Gene.

 

[00:02:14.960] - Jeanne

So here we are, ready to start our failure episode. It is such an important thing to speak about and it's something that we all deal with in life. And Sonia had such an interesting story about failure. She actually sent this to me on a message. And I was so surprised because I think that's also one of the things of failure. We don't always know what's happening in each other's lives and the challenges and the obstacles that we all face and that we all go through. And it just makes you feel so much more connected and part of the community and human if you know, it happens to all of us. And it really doesn't have to be a barrier to the rest of your life or your career or your profession. So I was hoping, Sonia, that you would share your story with us and just give us a little bit more background on why you communicated it to me in that way. And you put it so eloquently and it was so well thought out. So can you just share with our listeners a little bit about your failure story and what you shared with me?

 

[00:03:24.410] - Sonia

Well, my first goal was to tell you I get what you're saying, I understand. So it was more or less to reassure you that there was somebody listening to you and to your podcast and to everything that you do, and to reassure you that somebody was getting what you were saying about failure, trying again, and success not being the ultimate goal in anybody's life, stuff like that. And then to prove that I got it, that I understood what you were saying, I told you about an event that I created in Portugal, which was the first event that ever touched on failure in such a hardcore way. And that's basically how I told you about my failed failure event. If you can say that it's a failed failure event. Yes. And how did I start it? I was failing, easy. I was in the middle of a huge professional, personal, all-round failure of everything. No job, nothing, no perspective, no future ambition or anything. We were in 2011/12, more or less, in Portugal. There was the crisis that I don't know if we've ever been able to really get out of it, but we were in crisis.

 

[00:04:52.470] - Sonia

I was unemployed, I had no prospective of getting a job, and all of a sudden people started talking about believing your way to success. And if you were a believer, and if you believed hard enough, success would come to you, there was this huge leap. It was like an invasion of positive thinking vibe. It was horrible. And seeing as I am completely immune to that, it just made me really angry. It made me angry because it wasn't fair, because I was in a situation where, yeah, of course I believe in being successful, but I am completely not 100% responsible for my situation right now. We are in the middle of a global financial crisis, and I have this guy trying to sell books, telling me it's my fault. And no, it's not my fault that I can't find a job in my area right now when companies are laying people off and everybody's unemployed. And so why are you telling me it's my fault? Those people that were selling the books and doing the shows and doing hip YouTube channels and stuff like that at the time, well, they got filthy rich because people needed something to believe in.

 

[00:06:17.160] - Sonia

They needed that helping hand. They needed that reassurance that we're humans, we need that. We need that little push into oblivion to make us feel better. So what I decided to do was all right, fine. I'll prove you wrong, and I'm going to talk about failure. Because if that's something that you do not admit, that happens. If that's something that you do not see as being useful, as being positive, as being something that we all go through as being something that's a matter of when and not if, well, that's where I'm going. So I sat down on my couch and with my computer and my neighbor's internet, I decided to organize an event that focused on failure and get really successful people up on stage to speak about when they failed during their climb to success, however you want to say it, and it was a success.

 

[00:07:15.410] - Jeanne

That's awesome.

 

[00:07:17.960] - Sonia

Yes, an event on failure was a success and everybody was laughing at me saying it didn't fail, Sonia and I think it was supposed to. But anyway, yeah, that's how I started. I was basically angry and decided to fight back. That's how it started.

 

[00:07:37.930] - Jeanne

Yeah, but that's amazing because I think this is what we're trying to say on the FIGGI podcast as well. There are no secrets to happiness. Life always happens and it's exactly what you're saying. I think that we are so bombarded at the moment in terms of positive messaging. Well, I like to call it the positivity pitfall because you're supposed to always be positive. And it's like you say, if you just change your mind and see things in the right way and believe things in the right way, then everything will magically be better. And I can definitely understand that there are situations in life where it's good to practice how you see things and how you interpret things and how you think about things. But sometimes life just sucks. The circumstances of life sucks and it doesn't really matter how hard you try to change yourself or your belief system, it's not going to change the economic or social circumstances or any other kind of external factors that are contributing to why you may be struggling or failing or suffering in that moment. And it makes me also really angry because so many people need something to hold on to and some kind of motivation.

 

[00:09:00.410] - Jeanne

And it's really, for me, a very counterintuitive way of motivating people because ultimately they will still fail and it makes that failure even more bitter and more demotivating and destructive once you are in this mindset that, oh, I always need to be positive. And it was me because I didn't think the right way or believe the right way.

 

[00:09:26.740] - Sonia

I'm all for accountability. I am absolutely all for each person owning their mistakes and owning their decisions and owning the consequences of what they do and say and are. I'm all for that. But there are contexts in which our accountability has to be contextualized. So it's not all our fault and we cannot be led to believe that it is our fault. This almost gets into the religious thing. It's like the sin and the sinner and we are born. We sin simply for being born. I mean, I didn't ask to be here. It almost gets into that, and too much accountability will make somebody not even be able to get up. If you hold someone accountable for every single little thing that happens in their lives, then no, that's not going to work. That person is going to feel the weight of the world on their shoulders and no, that doesn't work.

 

[00:10:34.310] - Jeanne

No, I completely agree, and I commend you for even I think in that space and time going against the grain and saying, well, look, I really don't appreciate this message, I don't agree with this message. So I'm just going to stand up, raise my hand and say, no, let's do something on failure.

 

[00:10:52.980] - Sonia

And it was a success, yes, but it was a success. But everyone thought I was crazy. Everyone thought, what are you doing? Because you didn't speak about failure ten years ago. It was a complete desert in Portugal, and I know it was a desert because I was there standing on my own, and there was no one around me. Everybody was like, you're crazy, what are you doing? It's never going to work. And I told them, I don't care. I don't care if it works. What do you mean work? What's this supposed to... What does this mean? Everybody was already... It was incredible to see. It was an incredible exercise because, um I should really write this down. It was really cool because as soon as people thought, as soon as people saw that it actually worked, they were trying to get me into the success mentality, into the, oh, you're going to have to do whoa, you can do this, you can do that. And I did it all without a single cent. I had no money. So everything that happened on that first event, with that first event was either people gave stuff to me or they gave me stuff, or I had to borrow stuff from people, like communications equipment, venues, stuff like that. So I had absolutely no money, and I did it anyway, which I am a firm believer in, that you do what you can with what you have, and that should never stop you from doing something that you want to do. Even if you can't do it fully. Do what you can with what you have, and if that's not enough, then just leave it and you can do it sometime later. But at the time, I did what I could with what I had, and it was okay. And everybody all those positive success people came at me saying, oh, you're a success now.

 

[00:12:38.620] - Sonia

I said, do you guys realize that you're just making me feel even better about what I did? Because I'm talking about failure. You guys refuse to talk about failure, but once failure leads to success, you're all for it. That doesn't make sense because you can fail and never have success, and you can't have success without failing. So that just doesn't make sense. And it made me even more angry. So I did more events, but I kept on trying to prove to people that what you see here, the important thing, is not how successful an event is. The important thing is that I managed to get 60 something people up on a stage to be as vulnerable and as honest as they could be with something that they probably hadn't even shared with their families. So we're talking about being in a spot where talking about failure is comfortable, is not going to get anybody fired, it's not going to get anybody divorced, and that people can actually speak about it in a way that says, okay, help me learn from this, or this is what I've learnt from this. So that was the goal. The goal was never to have a successful event because that was never going to happen.

 

[00:14:00.420] - Sonia

I didn't have any money. You need money after a certain point. You need money to get stuff to be successful.

 

[00:14:09.040] - Breaker

Enjoying the conversation? Please consider following and subscribing to the My Figgi Live podcast. Share our episodes so we can grow our community. Go to Figgylive.com and subscribe to our newsletter so you're aware of all the latest podcast episodes, blog posts. And Figgi News, remember, everyone deserves to celebrate the Goddess within.

 

[00:14:33.340] - Jeanne

Take us through that event. Like, how did you set it all up? How did you know who to contact and how to contact them? You must have had an amazing message for these people to come up in this time where nobody was speaking about failure and get on stage and just kind of lay their story out on the table.

 

[00:14:52.030] - Sonia

I do tend to write really good emails.

 

[00:14:56.060] - Jeanne

That I can agree with. You are super good with the written word, right?

 

[00:15:01.180] - Sonia

And I managed to convince people, this is going to probably disappoint you, but I went through Twitter. I went through Twitter and I went through Facebook, or from the people that I know and from the people that I knew, from YouTube talks or stuff like that, from other events, I went and absolutely stalked them. And I stalked them. I said, okay, is this person capable of speaking about failure in a clean, positive way? And I stalked them until I was sure that they were that kind of person, because there were heaps of people that I knew would not be able to speak like that. They wouldn't be able to get up on stage and be honest. For example, I'll give you an example. University teachers, really successful university teachers and stuff like that. The few that I did invite, they would see failure as a stepping ground, a step to success. And I said, no, you can't do that. That's not correct. That's not honest, that's not truthful. You can't say that. But I find that if you look at failure in this life, then you've never really failed. Okay? I don't want you at my event, I want you to go, because I had to go and see what people would actually fit into the message that I was trying to get through.

 

[00:16:25.630] - Sonia

And not everybody was into that. So Twitter, Facebook, hours and hours and hours. And then I'd send the people emails, either or a personal message on Facebook or messenger. That's how I did it, because I did what I could with what I had. If I didn't have an email, I'd go on social media and talk to them. And whenever somebody would catch hold of it, somebody would say aah Sonia what are you doing? I'm organising an event on failure. What do you need? Okay I need Tshirts. Okay, we're going to find you someone who can donate Tshirts. Cool. Okay. I need a venue. Oh, I know the perfect place. Fine, let's talk to them. And that's basically how I did it. And it's amazing what you get from people when you ask, if you ask nicely and you explain why, it's amazing. It's incredible what you can get from people.

 

[00:17:15.110] - Jeanne

I'm going to be super cliche and quote an Oprah quote, and she always says that you get in life what you have the courage to ask for. And it's so, so true.

 

[00:17:27.540] - Sonia

I got a venue that if I had to pay for it, it would have been something like €5000 a day. And I was there for about 36 hours. I paid zero.

 

[00:17:39.940] - Jeanne

Wow, that's incredible.

 

[00:17:43.610] - Sonia

Because I explained the goal. My emails start off with, I am broke. I have no money. This is not a commercial enterprise. I do not plan on receiving any money, so please do not ask me for money. I have to start off like that. I have to be completely honest with people, and I have to accept that it might fail, which it did. If you're honest with people and you do stuff correctly and you choose the right people and not just anybody that turns up on your doorstep and knocked out at your door.

 

[00:18:16.530] - Jeanne

This is the most perfect example of doing what you can with what you have. And how when you are really driven and passionate about something, you can make it work. And, I mean, you're saying that you thought I would be disappointed in the methods that you employed, but social media, it's a powerhouse. It's extremely powerful. And for you to have gone on to these social media platforms and really put yourself out there as well, because you are the one sending the messages. You are the one recruiting these people and asking for the venues, that took a lot of motivation and courage from your side as well. So the fact that you did that is just so incredible and so amazing. And I honestly celebrate you for it, because I think that you've put, obviously together an amazing event that people really needed and wanted to know more about.

 

[00:19:16.020] - Sonia

Yes, well, after I opened that door, or opened that gate, or that window or whatever. There were a few years later, there were a few more affiliates did start to get more spoken about. Let's say that there were no events on failure, but people speaking about failure, it started to become easier to do, easier to find. I don't hold myself responsible, but seeing as I suffered so much because of what I did and it was early, I am happy that I did open the floodgate. I am happy that that did happen, even though my event did fail.

 

[00:19:56.830] - Jeanne

Why do you say it failed? Because you had so many speakers that came. You had this venue that you could rent, people enjoyed the conversation. Do you account the failure to that specific event or what happened after?

 

[00:20:10.540] - Sonia

It got too big. After I did the first one in Lisbon, I went to Porto, and then I went back to Lisbon. The first one was in Cascais, not in Lisbon, Porto. And then I tried to do one in partnership with a sporting event because I wanted to focus... When people asked me at the time... When they asked me, so who are the best people? Oh, something I didn't mention. The event is only on professional failure. So it was all about professional failure and money spent, jobs lost, companies running to the ground, and stuff like that. So when people would ask me, oh, who do you see as being the best people to handle failure? And I'd say, People who do sports: athletes, professional athletes. There's no one better than them to be able to handle failure and to handle the consequences that failure brings. I tried to do an event in partnership with a sporting event where only professional athletes would be speaking about everything that they had failed at, everything that they went through, about how they overcome failure. And the sporting partner did nothing. They didn't advertise it. They didn't communicate it. They didn't do anything. Even though we were going to use their venue.

 

[00:21:28.920] - Sonia

I was going to use their platform, and they just told no one about it. So I did it. Basically, no one knew about it. I needed money to be able to communicate to people that was going to happen. I didn't have it, so I stopped it. I canceled it. Two weeks from it happening, I canceled it, and I never did anymore. I did no more.

 

[00:21:50.590] - Jeanne

That's a good thing to do also, because sometimes you have to know when to stop. It's not easy to call that shot, but sometimes you do need to know, okay, this is what I set out to do. This is what I wanted to achieve with this. And now it's going into a direction where I don't feel like I can take ownership of this anymore or I can relate to this anymore. That's also a super brave step to take.

 

[00:22:14.740] - Sonia

There's a difference between failing and knowing when to stop.

 

[00:22:18.710] - Jeanne

Exactly right. So if we're talking about this and in terms of professional failure, I would say that in most of my experience in mentoring professionals and working with teams, this is probably, I would say, the thing that comes up the most either a fear of failing, whatever that may look like to the person, or having already failed, or you are in the process of failing. So how would you describe for you what to you personally does professional failure look like? Understanding that we are not judging it and we're not saying it's wrong or there's something wrong with failing, it's just that everybody defines it differently. So how would you define for you professional failure or examples of what that would be?

 

[00:23:15.790] - Sonia

Okay, that's a loaded question. Okay, I'm going to bullet point my way out of that question. Okay, first of all, we have a tendency to confuse failure with losing. The opposite of losing is winning. The opposite of failure is achievement. So we have to get those definitions out of the way. You have to get them right. Winning and losing has absolutely nothing to do with failure. Nothing. You can win a marathon and fail because you didn't do your best personal time, because of whatever. Because you lost a shoe during the race, whatever. Or you can feel like you failed, um, so the competition side of life where winners are seen as successful and where losers are seen as failures. We have to stop that. Winning and losing is part of a competition. Failure and achievement is part of life. It's completely different. So there's that. The next thing that we do and that we shouldn't do is we put this huge, huge emotional charge on failure because we think it has more to do with our personal perception of reality than it has to do with objective cold things, number of things almost. So when somebody says, oh, I think I failed because I trusted that person and I shouldn't have, you're being silly. That has nothing to do with failure. You had a bad day and trusted someone that you shouldn't have. You had a lapse in perception. You were emotionally connected to that person and your heart got in the way of your brain. But fine, that is not failure. That is called living your life.

 

[00:25:10.150] - Sonia

That is not you that failed. That is you made a mistake. Maybe, I don't even think that is a mistake. But anyway, this is called living life because if you talk about failure, then you're going to have to establish exactly what it is. And going back to what you were saying, if you ask the majority of people what does success look like to you? They'll probably say car, two kids, a house and a dog just being stereotypical here. But everybody has their own definition of success. If you ask those people what does failure look like to you? They'll probably look at you, like, with this blank expression and say, I don't know, maybe not having any of that. Well, that's not enough, because we know exactly what success might look to us, and we know exactly what we want. But we never draw a picture of what failure would look to us would look like to us. We never take the time to sit down and say, okay, this is what I want. That's good, and this is what I don't want that's bad. So that's what we do to ourselves. We know that success is right here next to us. But failure? Where's failure? We don't know. And then it hits us in the face like it's a freaking surprise and wake up and we're all, oh my God, how did this happen? Well, of course it happened because, you know, it does happen quite frequently and you just weren't prepared for it. So we have to define what failure is to us and to finish the last bullet point, professional failure. Hey, failure is just the capacity to not achieve goals. I'm sorry it sounds so underwhelming, but it is.

 

[00:26:54.360] - Jeanne

But it's straightforward and true.

 

[00:26:58.990] - Sonia

If you never have any goals in your professional life, well, you're never going to fail because you have nothing established as your goal posts. There's nothing that says red or green. There's nothing that says go or stay. There's nothing that says go or stop. Right? So if we have a goal of, I don't know, the salesperson or something like that, you have to have 100 sales per month. Okay, so where does the failing start at? 50, 40, 30? From which number is it considered a failure? And how many companies do that? Yeah, how many people do that? How many people say, okay, I need 100 sales per month, but if I only managed to get 20, I'm failing and I have to go look at the reasons for that failure? Usually what they do is they don't say you're failing. They say you're not achieving your goal, which is completely true. You're not achieving your goal. But then nobody goes and looks at the reasons why the goal isn't being achieved or why you're failing. And the reasons might be that the goal was probably not well defined. For example, people sometimes tend to not look at that.

 

[00:28:07.480] - Sonia

They say, okay, this is the goal. The goal is 100. It's fine to say, okay, but do we have the conditions? Do we have all the means that we need to be able to attain that goal? Because if we don't, maybe that goal should be taken down. And if it's too easily attained, if it's too easily achieved, it's equally as bad. An easy goal to achieve is as badly defined as an impossible goal to achieve. So when you look at failure and you look at success and achievement and stuff like that, there are so many components to it. People aren't afraid of failure. They're afraid of being found out. It's different. It's like the metaphor of the tree in the forest. If there's nobody around and the tree falls and there's nobody around, did it make a noise? So if I fail and there's nobody around to see it or nobody knows that I've failed, have I really failed? Can I live with that?

 

[00:29:00.780] - Jeanne

What an interesting question to ask.

 

[00:29:02.970] - Sonia

Am I going to tell someone when I fail? If there's no one around and I fail, am I going to run and tell my boss, oh, boss, look what happened. So people aren't afraid of failure. They're afraid of the consequences of being found out. They're afraid of losing their jobs. They're afraid of taking a pay cut. They're afraid of losing friends. They're afraid of the consequences, not a failure in itself.

 

[00:29:30.260] - Jeanne

For me, failure has always been an extremely personal thing. I've never been driven by what people think about me or see about me. I've always been driven by the circumstances where I come from and not to go back to that or doing something that would place me in a similar position or that would place me back in that step. So failure, for me has always been a super personal thing and a personal achievement of what I did and didn't do what I did and didn't achieve. Like you were talking about the differences between achieving and failure and how we set that up. So I think it's a big word for us all, but we see it in different ways, and we experience it in different ways. But it doesn't really matter if you experience it as being afraid of a consequence or harsh self criticism and setting your own goals too high or whatever. It still has a significant impact on our lives. And it's just something that I feel we just cannot get over because even if we change the words or the way that we see it, it's just this thing that's like the monster in the closet that we're all always secretly afraid of. And the more you feed that fear, the worse it becomes.

 

[00:30:58.560] - Sonia

But defining it helps. Defining it, writing it down, whatever you need to do. Defining it helps. Say okay this failure to me. It's failure to me. And if this ever comes up and looked me in the eye, I'll be able to identify it because...you know those Road Runner cartoons and the coyote, he runs over the cliff and he keeps on running, and he only falls when he realizes his midair. There's nothing beneath his feet because he keeps on running. Failure is like that. You're already failing, but you don't know. And only when you look down do you realize it.

 

[00:31:34.090] - Jeanne

It's very important to remember these things, especially to put it into perspective. You know, when I decided to make the change into Figgi and to move away from Calibrics I remember I went through a space of three to six months where it was really super difficult for me because I had put so much into my consultancy. It still is. It will always be my baby. It's something that nobody believed in, that nobody thought could work. And we did such amazing things. But it came to a point where I was what you were saying, I was already in the air, I was already failing, but I was still running. And I needed to realize that, okay, I really need to take this fall so I can get back up and start over. But in that space and in that mindset, I remember the conversations that I had with my husband, and I always used to tell him, I'm such a failure. I failed. I failed at this. And the reason why I felt that was because I had this goal for what Calibrics would be. And I was almost measuring the amount of how much change I could see being brought about by the work that we were doing, which was not at the end of it happening anymore because of red tape, politics, bureaucracy, all sorts of things.

 

[00:33:03.860] - Jeanne

But I got stuck on the idea of I failed. I made a failure of this. And when you look back at it, and I don't mean this in a kind of bragging way or something like that, it's just that we don't give ourselves enough credit at that point. I had started a successful consultancy. I finished my PhD. I had written my attorneys exams. I done all of these things. But you don't think about it that way. You only think about this goal that you set for yourself or the reason why you started something and what you wanted it to be or to look like, or the change that you wanted to make. And if that specific one thing in this whole group of things didn't work out correctly, you failed. And not only is it okay to say you failed, but sometimes you also have to just remember to be a little bit less harsh on yourself and you see the bigger picture. Because we tend I don't know if saying we is the right thing, but I know I for sure tend to zoom in on something. You know, I'm zooming in on just that specific part of the story or that specific element of it, and I forget to see everything else that has happened around it.

 

[00:34:25.960] - Sonia

Well, I usually say that failure is an event. It is not a person. So you can never really, honestly and truly describe someone as being a failure, because failure is an event, it's an activity. It's something that happens. It's happening. It's not ever a person, and it's not permanent.

 

[00:34:42.670] - Jeanne

It's never permanent.

 

[00:34:44.410] - Sonia

And if you can look at it, failure, if you want an even more concise definition, is failure is just a source of information. Failure is a source of information because it'll tell you what went wrong. And if you're brave enough, you can go and see when it went wrong, why it went wrong. And you can keep on asking the whys, whys, whys until you can no longer answer the whys. And you know exactly why that thing happened and what you have to do for it not to repeat itself. But it does hurt.

 

[00:35:17.740] - Jeanne

Exactly. I think that's part of the journey, though, because and I think that's part of the journey that is difficult when you start asking the why questions. Yeah, even me, I get super nervous for that, because you're starting to get super honest with yourself, really honest with yourself. And honestly, you don't always want to be that honest with yourself, but you have to be, because that's the only way that you're going to get to the actual source of what is going on, why it happened. How can you avoid it in the future? But you were also saying that it's not fun. It's obviously not fun to go through a failure experience, of course, but how would we explain that to our listeners? Because I think this is the thing that people struggle with the most. They can still understand. Even me, I can still get behind the idea of failure is an experience. We all fail. Failure is natural. But going through that, living through that moment of failure, I feel like sometimes people just try to bypass that as quickly as possible, and that makes the experience even worse. We live in a society where we are expected to just kind of bypass all of those bad or negative or not so nice feelings, say it's okay, tell the whole world we're okay, and move on. We're not feeling it. We're not feeling it.

 

[00:36:51.940] - Sonia

I'm the person in the group that when somebody is sad or going through a tough time, everybody usually says, oh, chin up. You know, things will get better. Don't think about it right now. Try to distract yourself with something that you like doing. And I'm the one that goes, no, let yourself suffer. Let yourself hurt. Sit down for an hour in front of a mirror and just cry it out. Just let it out you have to tire the pain. You have to make it waste itself. You have to make the pain waste itself on you. You have to feel it until you can't feel it anymore, until the pain is so wasted and is so weak that you won't be able to. If that takes a day, two days, a week, do it. Never ignore the pain because it'll come back and bite you in the bum, and it'll be even worse. So I'm the person they're saying, no, you need to cry or you need to scream or you need to punch something. You need to get that out of your system. Otherwise that's not going to work.

 

[00:37:51.010] - Breaker

You're listening to the My FIGGI Life podcast.

 

[00:37:55.310] - Jeanne

I think the problem with society is it creates that expectation that, no, don't worry, it's going to be better, or just make a day tomorrow yeah, exactly. And I have so much respect for what you just said, and I think I love you even more for it because this is one of the things that I always say about my panic disorder and when I have a relapse. I really just need to feel it, no matter how horrible it is. And the best thing that somebody can do for me, and I try to do this for other people as well, is to say, what do you need from me? How can I support you? Because telling somebody it's going to be okay or you're going to feel better tomorrow, it doesn't help you get through that pain. It almost creates that expectation that you should be getting over it and that...

 

[00:38:50.470] - Sonia

You're failing because you're not feeling better.

 

[00:38:53.060] - Jeanne

Exactly. One of the things that really helped me a lot is somebody that I have a lot of respect for in a professional capacity once told me that, examine what you are so afraid of. What is the worst thing that can happen if you fail? Think about the absolute worst thing and just make peace with it, because then it's not that demon in the cupboard anymore.

 

[00:39:16.630] - Sonia

You already know you can add to that, which is, okay, something failed. What can you do about it right now? Nothing. Well, then leave it. What can you do about it right now? I can do this, that and that. Okay, fine, go do it, but then leave it. When people think not all failures are supposed to be made better, it's like you're having a bad day. Nothing's going to make that bad day into a good day, no matter how much you yoga it out or something like that. So sometimes we have to look at things the way they are. Okay, bad day is a bad day. I just failed. The consequences are A, B, and C. Can I do anything about this? Yes, you can do D and make everything better, and the situation will go away. Cool. And I'm going to go do D. I failed. Consequences are A, B, and C. Can I do anything about this? No. It is done. There is nothing you can do. The wheels are turning. There is no turning back. You can do nothing. Okay, yeah, fine. I have to deal with that. You have to deal with it.

 

[00:40:16.800] - Sonia

You have to learn from it, and you have to be able to go forward. And the next time you are presented with the same situation, say, oh, wait a second, I know where this is going. We never learn from other people's failures. We learn from our own failures, which just makes it even more horrible. Just makes it even more horrible.

 

[00:40:35.490] - Jeanne

I think what we are saying in this episode and this may not be what you wanted to hear when you tuned in for this episode, goddess, but failure is normal. No matter what you do, you will fail sooner or later, it's life. So just from everything we've said and bringing it together, how would you say, do we move toward to a space where we can be kinder to ourselves about this and we can try to even explore maybe the hidden treasures in failure?

 

[00:41:07.310] - Sonia

When failure happens, you say, what did I learn from this? What am I learning from this? And what do I still have to learn from this? It transforms it into a learning experience instead of a failed experience, even though you may get the consequences, obviously, but looking at it in a different perspective, painting it with a different color sometimes gives you enough energy to be able to get over it in a more healthy way. Having these types of conversations with your peers, with your friends, with your workmates, and say, hey, do you know what I did last month? I completely crashed that sales goal. I completely just didn't happen. And what are you going to do about it? Well, I'm going to go and find out why and then I'm going to change it and I'm going to go be able to do it. Do you want to help me? Do you want to go and help search for the whys in this? So just be if we speak about failure in that as a matter of fact way, it would really help. We need to take the emotional side of failure away. We need to be able to put our emotions a little bit to the side in this and see failure as a source of information, which is all there is.

 

[00:42:16.540] - Jeanne

And I think it's important what you also said now about speaking to people about it, talk to your friends about it, talk to your peers about it, share about it. Yeah, because I think sometimes when you're also in the thick of it, one of the things that can be super frustrating for me is understanding in that moment, okay, what have I learned from this? Or what am I learning from this? And sometimes you're so overwhelmed by what has happened that you're thinking to yourself, I haven't learned anything fromthis, what could I possibly have learned from this? You know, but when you speak with, when you speak with somebody else that's a little bit more objective and just a little bit more removed from the situation and you can go through this whole conversation, you almost always will come to something that you've learned. You may not see it yet, but it's always the truth. So it's so important that you said that we should really reach out more. Speak about it, talk about it, ask advice, ask for help or guidance.

 

[00:43:18.000] - Sonia

And if you're afraid of saying the word, the F word, say something else. Say, oh, let's say you failed, say you didn't achieve, or whatever. If it helps you. If you're afraid of the F word, use another word.

 

[00:43:34.060] - Jeanne

You hear it here on the My FIGGI Life podcast, we don't believe, as we always say, in Secrets to Happiness, this is the space where you can be honest, and it is a non judgmental space, a safe space for you to be honest. I think we spoke about a lot of really interesting things today, and it's an uncomfortable topic because, as we said throughout the episode, it's such a difficult one to come to terms with personally, but also to speak about and even just to say that you have failed. You have done such an amazing job with this, Sonia, and I'm so happy that you came onto the podcast and you shared your wisdom with us. I can only wish you all of the best, and I really hope that we will see a lot more of you here in the FIGGI community. If our FIGGI listeners want to reach you and they want to know more about you and your ideas, where do they go?

 

[00:44:35.290] - Sonia

Well, my Twitter handle, even though everything that's going on at Twitter right now is a little bit weird, my Twitter handle is @SoniaTelesFa which is Sonia T-E-L-E-S-F. And if you search for Sonya Teles Fernandes over the Internet, you can find me in heaps of spaces.

 

[00:45:00.300] - Jeanne

I will also link all of your socials that you've given to us in the episode description. So it's easy for you to find and it's easy for you to follow Sonia and to just see what she's doing and get in touch with her. I'm so grateful for your time, Sonia. Thank you so much. I'm so glad I met you, and I'm so glad you came on the podcast.

 

[00:45:24.560] - Sonia

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

 

[00:45:26.670] - Jeanne

So, FIGGI listeners, thank you so much for joining us, and we will see you again next time here on the My FIGGI Life podcast. Remember, we all deserve to celebrate the Goddess within.