Seven years ago next week I was in Switzerland with Prince William, David Beckham and our then Prime Minister, David Cameron, bidding on behalf of England to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018. We clearly didn’t win, because the world’s biggest football tournament will take place in Russia next year instead. What happened there was one of the most disappointing moments of my career, and yet one of the most important.
I was responsible for the global legacy plans for how we would use the tournament for good, if my country was chosen to host it. We had grand ambitions and an unprecedented level of commitment from all the key players in the industry. I was so proud of all the Bid Team had created. And then, in one fell swoop, it was all taken away when we only got two votes and went out in the first round. I won’t talk about the fact that most of the people who voted that day are now either in jail, under FBI investigation for corruption or sacked. What I will talk about is the fact that had this experience not happened, I probably wouldn’t be writing this to you today.
Why? Because that huge failure and disappointment became the catalyst for me starting my own business, Do What You Love.
Fast forward seven years and here we are, and I am so grateful for all of it (and for you!) So today I want to remind you that the things that feel really hard, or difficult, or even like a punch in the stomach, can sometimes end up being the best things that could have happened.
So tell me. Do you ever have days when things don’t go your way? When you get rejected? Challenged? Frustrated by your boss? When a job interview goes badly? Or you get a bad review, or suffer an online troll experience, or any other kind of horrible thing like that? Of course you do, because we all do. It’s part of the human experience, and when you put creative work out in the world you can multiply the number of times it happens by about 100.
But that isn’t reason enough to give up. Sometimes it’s simply an indication that something needs tweaking or your trajectory needs shifting, or the timing could be better etc, (and sometimes people are just mean). Saying that doesn’t make it any easier though, so I decided to invite Alexandra Franzen onto my podcast this week to share some of her wisdom around keeping going when soul-crushing things happen.
Alex is something of a not-so-well-kept secret in the online marketing world. She has consulted for most of the people who have made it big online, and she has just written her second book, ‘You’re going to survive’. Her writing has been featured in places like Time, Forbes, Newsweek, The Huffington Post, and Lifehacker. On this week’s show Alex shares how, despite those moments of wanting to give it all up, she finds the courage to dig deep, stay focused and carry on producing her best work.
You’re going to get so much hope from this episode. Listen in and enjoy.
And before I go I’d like to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving, wherever you are in the world, and say how thankful I am for you. I am thankful that you are part of this community, that you care enough to want to do what you love and shine brightly in the world, and that you make it possible for me to follow my dreams too.
With gratitude and love,