Remember when you wanted what you currently have?
I read this phrase a few days ago, while waiting for the traffic light to change before crossing the street to get to an important bank in DC, where we were hosting a private Fuckup Nights event.
At Fuckup Nights, I coordinate our private events in North America – taking the partner through all the processes, helping them find a speaker, curate the failure story and finally, foster resiliency in the face of failure. There have been really busy days. And on this day, I was trying really hard to not overlook any detail, to give all the love I could to our partner, and getting super into the planning and execution of it all without taking a break.
On this deal, the bank asked us to change the format, going from an average Fuckup Nights, to some kind of confessional. There’d be someone acting as a psychoanalyst, listening to three people in therapy sharing their failure. It sounded easy from the beginning, so I said yes, but as I was planning and executing the idea, it ended up being so much harder and more complex than I thought it’d be.
I had developed a script, and prepared the speakers for a format I barely understood (or had much experience in), and there I was, in DC, ready to start rehearsals and make the event happen.
I was feeling really nervous. With all the difficulties I was having, I wasn’t sure if I was reaching the partner’s expectations. They were getting restless, and questioning the possible outcome of the event.
So there I was, waiting for the light to turn green, so that I could cross the street, and face one of the biggest and most rewarding professional challenges I have ever faced.
In that moment, I read those words on a Fuckup Nights Instagram post. “Remember when you wanted what you currently have?” Suddenly, I realized that I had been so into the nitty gritty the event, that I had completely forgotten to enjoy my new job. I forgot to appreciate that I now had what I wanted to have just a year ago.
I missed the light twice while standing there, taking stock of the fact that I was in another country, mentoring a really important bank, with 4 managers that all doubled my professional experience. In that moment, I was like “WTF, am I doing here?”. Impostor Syndrome detected.
The light turned green for the third time, and I finally crossed the street and entered the building. We had our rehearsal, and we were ready for the important day.
That day finally came, and a lot of people were there, even the President of the bank, who decided to open a space on his agenda to stay the whole event, and to listen to how some of the team had fucked up.
At the closing of the event, they shared the results of a work environment poll, and they discovered that 70% of their staff, which was approximately 1,300 people, felt that they weren’t supported by their managers when trying to innovate and try new things. That blew my mind.
I was with one of the most important banks in the world, with a culture so against and afraid of failure, that they had to set up a stage in a confessionary format with a psychoanalyst. And I thought. “Why do people only share their fuck ups with a professional in private?”
In that moment I discovered why it was important to the partner that the event be perfect, and why the process had been so challenging. I realized that I hadn’t completely understood the real reason we were all there. We weren’t there to just #sharethefailure. We were there to fundamentally change how the the team felt, to empower them to feel like they COULD try to innovate and try new things – without the fear of what would happen if they missed the mark
And I finally got that I should have dedicated more time to enjoy and appreciate the project, to try and “be 1% better everyday”, and, to give more love and patience to a partner that was asking us to go with a different format for a really important reason.
And even though there’ll never be enough time, it’s important to make the time for this kind of appreciation in the moment.
Sometimes it’s exhausting, and there will always be a thousand reasons to complain, or feel overwhelmed. But at the end of the day, this project taught me that that just makes you lose focus, and robs you of the chance to enjoy the things you wanted and currently have.
Americas Enterprise Operations Coordinator
Communicologist, short and with a good heart. From pulling wires, to a corporate event producer and strategic alliances creator for three years. Now, fully in love with creating content to impact the culture and mindset of the companies she works with. Hates mezcal. Christian, but still working at Fuckup Nights.