Over the lockdown, FUN/Akl host, Océane Imber, caught up with Mandy Reeve, to see how sharing her failure at Fuckup Nights has impacted her life. 

Mandy Reeves, FUN Vol 5 @ Rewired

O: How did it feel to share your failure with our audience? 

M: It was my first proper speaking event so I was very nervous and I went in having just learned about myself that I’m an over-thinker and a massive planner. In the past I’d have written out speeches word for word. This time I went in with literally seven things I wanted to cover off. The night before I had a bit of a meltdown and went ‘what have I done not planning it?!’

And then I went right, you’ve got this, you know yourself more than anyone so even if you don’t speak properly or miss something out people aren’t going to know. I was excited right up until the day before then used my calming techniques, and ended up really enjoying it which really surprised me. So hopefully more speaking events come up now. 

O: What did you gain from the experience, if anything? 

M: I gained a love for sharing my story and speaking to other people. I think there’s always been a bit of a natural storyteller in me, and I can get a bit carried away so t’s quite good to succinct your story to a timeframe. But also meeting the other speakers and hearing their stories. We always think we’re so different but there are always common themes around the “mistakes” we make in our lives.

O: Do you feel like you define failure differently now, as a result of speaking and opening up at the event about what you failed at? 

M: I think before the event I probably wasn’t kind to myself and gave myself more of a hard time. Now it’s like you learned that so you can move on from that and take that learning forward rather than the stigma around failure. I don’t even like the word ‘failure’ anymore. I don’t even like putting ‘good’/‘bad’ on it, because to me it’s neither of those things. 

O: Do you think you have a different relationship with failure now that you’re clear about what’s important and what matters?

M: Yeah, I would say that. My relationship with failure is more the failure is if you didn’t try, right? So those things you go out there and do is what is important! Those risks you take and the trying because that’s where the learning and the growth is. The more you put yourself out there, it gets a bit easier and there’s more space to learn and grow. 

O: And so, in general for the event, what was your highlight of the night? One thing you took with you that just stayed with you. 

M: My highlight for the night was the Q & A. It was so interactive! You could hear the audience point of views, hear their questions and see where they were coming from. I really enjoyed the the conversation rather than standing up there and sharing your story. Sharing is great, but to me the magic happens when you have the opportunity to create a conversation. Not just from the speakers but the audience participation, even into the answers. It was really nice how that all came together. 

O: Is there anything you feel like you want to share with our community about failure, particularly given COVID-19 has represented a big failure for many people. 

M: Even that comment itself is interesting! I found myself in reflection mode of the weekend with Anzac Day and thinking of where my grandparents were at during World War II and I just felt grateful we’re living in this time. There’s been a lot of uncertainty and fear. Everyone’s handling it so differently but I guess my one question for the community is:

What have you learned about yourself over this time?

Just take away any pressure and judgment from yourself and ask yourself what you want to take forward. You don’t have to go back to the old way – let’s start a new way of being.

“In the rush to return to normal, use the time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to” – by D.Hollie