Last night, I was privileged and honored to attend a very special meeting of the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. After about a three-year run, Dr. Julie Edge (founder of Creelio.com) decided that the wisest decision was to shut down her business. Anyone even remotely connected to the startup community knows how heart wrenching and difficult such a decision is for everyone involved. Untold hours, blood, sweat, and tears go into creating a business from the ground up. Shutting it down is life altering.
In spite of that visceral truth, Julie chose to handle the shutdown in a way that is not always seen among entrepreneurs. Rather than quietly closing, she, her colleagues, and her supporters chose to host a special meeting at Village Square to commemorate the event. It included a panel discussion with questions and answers that fundamentally focused on one idea: What can we learn from failure?
In today’s competitive world where some have incredibly high and often unrealistic expectations of success in life and business, it is a breath of fresh air to understand that failure is as much a part of life as is success. Moreover, we sometimes learn more from our failures than our successes. Julie called upon the startup community to reflect on these matters, appropriated naming the event, “Zen and the Art of Failure” and adopting the theme “Done With Dignity” (#DoneWithDignity).
We reflected on what we have learned and can learn from our failures. It isn’t always fun when we are in the middle of them. Nevertheless, the learning that we can receive can carry us into a future that is superior to the past. If we embrace our failures, they hold the promise of making us wiser, stronger, and better.
Done with dignity truly was! Thank you to Julie, each entrepreneur, colleague, associate, friend, and supporter who participated to make it so.