The word 'Fuckup' resonated profoundly with his personal experiences, especially considering the challenges he faced since 2022.
As we reach more cities across the globe, it’s easy to forget the impact that we have on a local and even personal scale for attendees and speakers alike.
Have you ever wondered what the speakers REALLY feel about facing their failure and a room full of strangers while holding a mic?
We interviewed Walter Petla, one of the speakers at Fuckup Nights Sao Paulo. His vulnerability and openness will totally make you #ShareTheFailure at your next local FuN. And if it doesn’t, that’s OK too ;)
FuN: What was your initial reaction when you first heard the name "Fuckup Nights"?
Walter: Upon first encountering the term "Fuckup Nights," my immediate reaction was a blend of curiosity and intrigue. Being deeply rooted in the nightclub industry for over a decade, the term 'night' naturally piqued my interest, drawing me in to explore further. Additionally, the word 'Fuckup' resonated profoundly with my personal experiences, especially considering the challenges I've faced since the beginning of 2022 when my club had to shut down due to financial struggles exacerbated by the pandemic. The name "Fuckup Nights" struck a chord with me, instantly making me feel a sense of connection as if I had found a community that understood the struggles I had been going through.
FuN: After the concept of Fuckup Nights was explained to you, what were your thoughts on the idea of openly discussing and celebrating failure?
Walter: I found the concept of Fuckup Nights truly remarkable. Acknowledging and celebrating failure openly is essential, considering that failures often outnumber successes in our lives. Engaging in conversations about failure brings us closer to the reality that many people experience, making it a valuable and necessary dialogue.
FuN: Can you share your own experience and relationship with failure? What's your story when it comes to facing setbacks and challenges in your life or career?
Walter: As I introduced my speech, "that was the day that the father cries and the daughter doesn't see".
I started entrepreneurship in 2011, after graduating in law (2004), practicing law and not being happy. I've always been involved with people in culture, music and creativity, and that's why I set up a nightclub. Despite ups and downs, he was always considered a success by the public he attended. But in 2022, due to the crisis experienced by the pandemic, I closed it. But I didn't just close, I went broke, I went bankrupt.
I had a few moments before of crises that I managed to overcome. I tried to set up a second club in a nearby, but larger city that already had other options, which didn't work out and caused me losses, but nothing equates to the end.
In parallel to this, in January 2020 (three months before everything closed), my daughter, Nina, was born. And thanks to her, I had minimal mental health for going through all of this. Because since March 2020 I have been worried about saving my business, but also about saving work and jobs. I spent a year paying rent and staff, waiting for the end of the pandemic, which never came. After a year and three loans, I fired everyone and gave the property back. With the market reopening almost a year later, I still tried to reopen in a new location, which didn't work out at all.
And from that came bankruptcy, the lack of confidence in myself as a professional, the doubts about what to do from that moment on. A huge depression came, two months of not being able to get out of bed if it weren't to be with my daughter. Along with all this also came a marital crisis and a separation. And then began a huge period of more difficulties, looking for work, looking for a place to live, looking for mental health. Because due to the pandemic, I lost my assets and my marriage.
But as I said in my speech at Fuckup Night Sao Paulo, today all I have is my daughter. And that's worth more than anything I've ever had before her.
FuN: In the face of failure, what valuable lessons have you learned? If there's one key takeaway from your own failures, what would it be?
Walter: I learned that we don't have control over everything. Those who don't always want to do good will do you good at the end of the game. Because at the end of the day, everyone is a little fucked up. Some more, some less.
FuN: If you could offer a piece of advice to individuals grappling with their own failures or setbacks, what would that advice be?
Walter: I would say: friend, you are not alone. A lot of people are screwed for countless reasons, and that brings us back to humanity. On the ground you will know who you can count on and who you cannot count on. Just don't let the judge finish the countdown. Get up, even if it's to leave the stage, but get up. Losing is not bad. Being defeated is not bad. This is all part of the show of life. We fuckup, get up, and life goes on.
FuN: Why is talking about business failure important to you? What drives you to share your own experiences and insights on this topic?
Walter:Talking about failure collectively is talking about acceptance. You look to others, to the community that has gone through similar situations, for validation that what you did was not wrong, but that it was part of the process.
FuN: Looking back at your participation in the event, can you recall any particularly memorable moments or impactful words that were spoken by you or others during the night?
Walter: The whole night was memorable. From the construction of our host Mariana Maciel's storytelling to the subsequent presentations of stumbles and resilience. For me, the highlight was being able to put out this anguish of being fucked up, of not having found a way out, and holding on to the love for my daughter to keep trying.
FuN What would you consider the highlight of your experience at the Fuckup Nights event?
Walter: Connection with other people who have also gone through similar situations and who are looking to regain their place in the world.
FuN: If you had to describe the night using just one or two adjectives, what words would you choose to capture the essence of the event?
Connection and acceptance.
FuN: Along your journey, both personally and professionally, what significant lessons have you learned from facing failure and setbacks? Can you share any specific instances or moments that had a profound impact on your growth and development?
Walter: Unfortunately I am still going through the grieving process. What I'm trying to focus on right now is creating true connections, regardless of whether it's for a moment or for a lifetime.
FuN: In terms of knowledge or insights gained, what is your main takeaway from your participation in Fuckup Nights? Did the event provide you with any new perspectives or ideas?
Walter: What I took away from my participation was the need to create a real support network, which is there when I need it. This is what I missed most, and what I saw that other people also commented on in their speeches during the event.
Thank you Walter! and a big shout out to Mariana Maciel, our official Fuckup Nights organizer in Sao Paulo!
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