“I’ve grown most not from wins but from setbacks”
– SERENA WILLIAMS –
Today I want to talk about setbacks. And in particular our recovery from setbacks and how we process them.
Why is this on my mind? Well this week, during one of my live rainmaker’s academy sessions in which I was just wrapping up a brilliant session on wills, life insurance and legacy (a juicy one I might add!) there was a power outage which kicked me out of my own Zoom meeting. A minor issue you might think, but the four minutes it took to switch to an alternative device and log back in, felt like 4 hours for me, and when the session came to a close, I was overcome with feelings of disappointment and frustration.
I won’t go into the lengthy diatribe my inner demon launched into, but frankly, it wasn’t good. So much so, several hours later I literally paused and had to have a word with myself to snap out of it.
It made me think about how successful leaders we admire, go on to achieve great things despite some of the obstacles they encounter along the way.
This was brought into sharp focus for me this week when I saw the news that Rihanna’s clothing line Fenty, had been discontinued by LVMH, and watched in collective sorrow with Serena as she bowed out of the Australian Open without achieving her longed for 24th open title. It was capped by the coverage of the Bumble IPO, led by Whitney Wolfe Herd.
The thing that binds these three women of course, is their reaction to setbacks.
You think every time Serena, Rihanna or Whitney have a mishap they throw in the towel and called it a day? (Clearly rhetorical looking at the evidence).
Rihanna with her multiple income streams (a rainmaker principle if ever there was one), Serena with her unbreakable spirit and Whitney who having dusted herself off after the fall-out from her Tinder departure went on to set up one of the world’s few female-led unicorns?
These things don’t really happen by accident. While the recipe for success with each of them may look slightly different, I’m willing to take a gamble that one thing they are categorically not doing is incessantly talking shit about themselves when something goes wrong.
Make no mistake about this, I am extremely fussy and uncompromising about how the rainmakers are treated and the level of service they receive.
It’s the reason why I personally run all the rainmakers academy sessions, with the exception of one or two future sessions which I will co-host alongside a subject matter expert in that area.
It’s the reason I work exclusively with female finance advisers I would be happy recommending to my mum or my gran. Needless to say – it’s a high bar.
We are a ‘free for all’ free zone. But it doesn’t mean we are a perfection-only zone.
Because guess what, ish happens, we trip up, fall down, (I more than most due to congenital clumsiness), however we get up and, most of the time, we stay up. After this episode I adopted the same process I apply at the end of every session – to reflect on what went well, what could have been improved and what was entirely out of my control. The conclusion? Despite the power cut I moved swiftly into contingency mode and finished the last portion of the session via other means – that’s a win. To mitigate against this situation in future I bought a back up power source as a plan C to the plan B. That’s a win. The rainmakers happily chatted among themselves so my worst nightmare, that everyone would have disappeared during the pause, did not come to fruition. That’s a win. And the biggest one of all? The uplift and support from an incredible rainmaker community I am proud to be working with. That’s the magic.
So, my reminder to you is this: talk to yourself nicely and use that to fuel how you show up for others. It’s the least you owe yourself.
Email me one nice thing you’re going to say to yourself this week. Would love to hear from you as ever.