I’m subscribed to John-Paul Iwuoha’s emails. He is the founder of Smallstarter Africa whose website link I will share at the end of this post. I recommend that every entrepreneur follow this website and subscribe to their mailing list. You will learn a lot!
One of the attitudes he suggests an entrepreneur should have is a “win or learn” attitude. He says there is no losing, only winning and learning. I agree with this and I know firsthand what this means.
When you put yourself out into any situation, you take the risk of being accepted or rejected. I regularly apply for many growth programs for both personal and business growth. Sometimes I get accepted and other times, I get rejected. But one thing is certain – I learn something new about myself and my business every single time I apply. The questions asked in the applications and the interviews spur me to think of new ways to solve existing problems and further improve or highlight strengths.
Earlier this year I was shortlisted for the Mandela Washington Fellowship. That in itself was an achievement because about three years ago I applied and wasn’t even shortlisted. This showed me that growth has happened since the last time I applied. I walked into the interview room at the embassy confident having revised and prepared. The first question landed like a hammer on my head though. It shook my confidence almost immediately. I can’t remember my answer but I did my best to answer as best as I could in that frame of mind. Throughout the rest of the interview, I kept on feeling rises and falls. I know I answered some questions well but I also know I truly did terribly in others. The interview brought all the great, good, bad and ugly out into the light. Bit by bit I could see the things I had done well and also the things I was failing at in the business at that point.
I didn’t get in for the fellowship but that interview pushed and stretched me in so many ways. The positive results will stretch on for a long time and the solutions I am working on in the business right now will leave a lasting impact. I learnt.
I have also applied for other programs and been accepted such as the British Council Creative Enterprise Program happening this week. I can’t wait to soak in all the knowledge and chew on it so that I can apply it to the business and pass on what I have acquired to others too.
As an artist, my work is subject to people’s opinions and comments quite often. In addition to being a fashion designer; I design buildings (architecture); I write and perform poetry and sing. I have a few song melodies and original compositions sitting idle gathering dust but I will dust them up soon and show them to the world because kept to myself, my work has no power to impact any one.
We must keep putting ourselves, and our work out there. We must keep sharing and looking for growth. Some people will applaud us while others will frown at us. Not everyone will appreciate what you do, and not everyone is supposed to anyway! Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Every program has its guidelines and requirements. Every client has different needs.
We are not entirely responsible for the reception of our work because even when we do our best to present it in the best light, the other party is always a variable. They come into the equation with their own backgrounds and experiences. We are only responsible for the way we present our work and ourselves. We are responsible too for our own perspectives and the way they shape our growth.
So the next time you face rejection, take no offense. There is no losing, only winning and learning.
As promised, here is the link www.smallstarter.com.
Wishing you a lovely week with the warmest of regards,