Yesterday was my first visit to the RSA (Royal Society of Arts) event at the RSA house in the heart of the City of London. Which is a shame really, since I’ve been here on/off for about 3 months already.
Not being used to professional networking and code of behaviour or conduct, but always open for new possibilities, relationships and opportunities, I had mixed feelings of excitement and some nervousness as well. However, being someone that is hardly present and certainly not known, I thought nobody would notice my presence or be interested in what I do or who I am. And that gave me the courage to let go of the nervousness and leave space for curiosity only.
I couldn’t be more wrong. I guess the difference between Slovenian and the UK working culture is not only in the way how we approach and adopt new ideas, but also in the way how we connect and relate to other people, especially how we establish new relationships. Just for a short illustration (and please bear in mind that this is my experience only and is not necessarily a ‘general truth’): when I was younger and had volunteered for the faculty where I studied, I often had experiences such as when proposing new ideas, I would get five arguments and ways why this idea wouldn’t work out and a list of at least five things what could go wrong on the way. I thought this is the way things are done, so adjusted myself in order to be able to function in such an environment. While when I first moved to England, about three years ago, I had a different experience. When I did pluck up my courage to finally dare to propose something, I got a response which surprised me so much, that I think this was one of the first reasons why I fell in love with this country in the first place. I would immediately get at least five ways of suggestions what else I might do, as well as be offered support and useful contacts of people that might be of help. This was accompanied by an attitude of genuine interest and respect. Not something I was used to very much.
So I would let go of my old beliefs and start behaving, working in and seeking for the environment where my ideas were supported. My life changed since then (have a look at the older blog posts if interested how).
The same experience I had three years ago, happened yesterday. I was so wrong for thinking I would not be noticed. At the very beginning, the lady who was hosting the eveng announced this meeting is a special meeting as there are two Fellows from the overseas. And I was so blushing while raising my hand to show who I was yet still I thought people wouldn’t really notice. Wrong again. In the gaps between different project pitches where we were mingling, I couldn’t even get to the second glass of wine as so many people approached and expressed interest. So I met some wonderful skilled, talented and dedicated people and thanks to A., I was introduced to many other Fellows with whom we will possibly work on making the positive difference in our society.
The point of this post was that it is NOT normal or natural to be working in so called ‘problem focused’ environments. Failure is no shame and absolutely not a setback. It is a lesson, learning and a sign of moving. And new ideas should be encouraged, even though we might encounter trouble on the go (which great ideas don’t???) and even though there will probably be moderate or high risks.
In the RSA meeting there was a terrific pitch about failure, as a precondition of a big success. And in order to make that possible, we need successful failures. We of course might not recognize them as such at that moment, however looking back, we might actually be proud and happy to have failed at something, because that opened doors to something else. Something spectacular, possibly
I know I’ve had many failures. Now I also know that many of them have been quite successful failures!