Paul Padmore was made redundant from his position at a startup in London in his early 40s, which led to feelings of embarrassment, shame and failure that he harbored for a long time. Ultimately, he realized that the important part was “to be in the arena” and able to learn and grow. He said, “ If we don’t try and if we don’t experience these moments, then growth is negligible.” Paul pondered failure for more than a year before he ginned up the confidence to launch the My Perfect Failure podcast where he has conversations with people about failure, what it means to them and how they deal with it.
Paul Padmore is a renowned social well-being enthusiast, best known for hosting the podcast, ‘My Perfect Failure’. Focusing on the principle that failure is never permanent, Paul aims to educate his audience about the benefits a positive mindset can have for both your career and personal life.
Turning 40 and Leaning into the Concept of Failure
Paul Padmore joins us to discuss the profound lessons he’s learned from failure. From being made redundant to finding resilience and growth in unexpected places, Paul’s journey is a testament to the power of embracing setbacks. His insights into failure, success, and personal development are not only enlightening but also deeply relatable. Tune in to hear Paul’s unique perspective on how failure can be a treasure trove of opportunity.
- Redundancy and Personal Growth: Paul’s experience of being made redundant from a startup, the feelings of failure, and the personal growth that emerged from it.
- The Concept of Failure: A deep dive into how failure is perceived, the stigma around it, and how it can be seen as a gain rather than a gap.
- Imposter Syndrome and Starting a Podcast: Paul’s journey of starting a podcast on failure, battling imposter syndrome, and finding joy in connecting with others.
- Insights from Failures: How failures can be seen as opportunities for learning, personal and professional development, and the importance of being in the arena.
- Stephanie’s Experience with Redundancy: Stephanie shares her own experiences with being made redundant and the lessons learned from those situations.
Thank you for joining us on this enlightening conversation about failure, growth, and resilience. Paul’s insights remind us that setbacks are not the end but rather a beginning to new opportunities and personal development.
If you enjoyed this episode, please don’t forget to rate, follow, and review our podcast. Your support helps us continue to bring you compelling conversations and valuable insights.
The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Brene Brown, Daring Greatly
Dr. Benjamin Hardy, The Gap and the Gain
Stephen Pressfield, The War of Art
Stephen Pressfield, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work
Do you have the Ick?
Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from the Ick. www.fortydrinks.com/ick
Listen, Rate & Subscribe
Stephanie: Hey Paul, thanks for being here today. I'm so glad to have you on the podcast.
Paul: I am delighted to be here on the podcast. Love what you are doing. I've loved listening to your content, but also reading your content as well. So I'm honored to be a guest here today.
Stephanie: Oh, thank you Paul. That's so kind. We were just talking and this is where I wanna start - you and I have quite some similarities in our geography, even though we're separated by what they call the pond in that I live just about an hour north of Boston, which is a major city and you live about 45, 50 minutes outside of London.
Paul: Hmm hmm.
Stephanie: And tell me what your town is known for.
Paul: It's known for making people dizzy because we've got lots of roundabouts. So people that come into Basingstoke, they're like, why have they got so many roundabouts? People that have lived here for a while, they get used to it, they're just there. We're always fascinated when we see roadworks and they're building more roundabouts out.
Stephanie: Well, it's funny because in my part of the world, we call them rotaries, but roundabouts are very common as well. I have one less than a mile from my house. So we're, we have some geographic similarities that have already connected us. I love this.
Paul: Yeah. We've got lots of synergy and the publishers as well.
Stephanie: Right. Right. Backgrounds in publishing.
Paul: Boston Globe isn't it?
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, so why don't we start there? Why don't you tell me a little bit about your, I call them your formative adult years? Bring us up to where our story starts.
Paul: I guess the relevant starting point would be I'll very quickly get up to where we are. Born in London, raised in Basingstoke, studied in London, I'd worked in Basingstoke for a while, but ended up going back to London for work in a major city. More opportunities there. Did a number of different jobs and careers, and enjoyed those, met some wonderful people. Then I got, by default, it wasn't a plan, I get approached by a recruiter to take an interview for a publisher. I didn't even know who they were really. The recruiters thought that I was a good match for their job, went there, did the interview, got the job, and it wasn't like a marriage made in heaven, but it kind of slowly got familiar with the job, met some wonderful people, started building these fabulous relationships, which I still have to till today. So I kind of stayed in that industry, I worked for one national publisher in the UK and around probably about 2010, I got the opportunity to actually go and work for another publisher and, there was synergy., The funny thing was, for about five years I was at this new career, similar type of company, both national publishers and the company that I previously worked for, which was in a financial district in London, they actually acquired the company that I've been working for about four or five years. And I never planned to go back to it's called Canary Wharf it's like a little island in London it's kind of like a little bit of a pain to get to unless you live in that area. So I kind of thought once I've done four or five years of that, I thought, okay, done Canary Wharf, don't really need to do this again. But it was almost like Groundhog Day where I was going back, going for the same turnstile, and it's like I know this so well. I never thought what was gonna happen again.
Stephanie: And this was your early forties at this point in time, right?
Paul: Yes, yes. Yeah. So, to give you context, I was in my forties and had a nice birthday party with all my friends around that time. Around 2016, is when the local, what I was working for, which is part of the Daily Mail group, they got acquired, and so I ended up going back to Canary Wharf. And it wasn't the best fit ever. It was almost like we were going back into this corporate thing and we were a little bit more free-spirited, you know, wonderful people there, like wonderful company, but it probably wasn't the best fit.
Paul: So, then I got the opportunity, it came out of the blue, again, this is around 2016, to go and work for a startup with some really talented people. And that was to kickoff in 2017, which it did. There were not that many of us, but everybody knew one another. Somehow we'd all worked with one another so we knew one another, so it was like a lovely little family. So we started in earnest 2017, my role was look after growth and partnership, so ultimately that boils down to generating revenue.
Paul: Not too long into that journey, it became apparent that we weren't scaling as quickly as we needed to, and certainly I wasn't able to generate the levels of revenue that I needed to cover my seat and so forth. So later on that year, probably October, maybe I got made redundant and, I knew it was, it was, I've been processing it, begrudgingly processing it for probably a few months prior to it actually happening. When it actually happened, definitely felt a little bit of shame, a little bit that I'd failed, um, a little bit you know, embarrassed, all the logical things you can think of.
Paul: And then it was like, what do I do? I was in my forties and it was just like, well, you know, that wasn't meant to happen. I was still getting people congratulating me on the new job, cause you obviously don't, when you start a new job, people see it and they don't always physically see you. So you might see people and they say, how's new job going? Really excited. So then you have, well no, been made redundant. What? You've only just started. I know. So I was able to process that and that obviously made me more kind of fixated on the fact that I'd failed and it hadn't gone according to plan. I was very lucky that I'd got another job reasonably quickly. And then I started thinking about failure more in a constant way, I would say. So I could be at lunch, I could be at dinner, I could be at the gym, I could be in the Tube. And I would think about how does the woman in a supermarket, the guy in a street, the Garda chief, how the sort of the everyday person navigate and process failures and disappointments. Because it just occurred to me that there are some people that view it as part of their journey. They don't even view it as a failure, they know in order to get from A to B, there's gonna be obstacles that have to be and will be navigated, and they might be bumpy, but they would get there. And I realized I didn't have those tools. I was devoid of any of those tools that everybody else had. And I thought other people potentially are as well.
Stephanie: I'm curious, how were you handling the failure or managing the failure? The fact that you got a job pretty quickly thereafter means that the worst of it was, you know, you weren't a year trying to figure out how to pay rents and stuff, but, what did the failure feel like to you?
Paul: It felt very personal, very isolating. It felt very, um, well, I wouldn't say painful. It almost feels that you got this mark you know how like somebody gets like a, I don't know, a marker and pens an F on your head, you know, for failure. It felt a little bit like that. It felt like I was walking around with this mark on me and everybody knew and it takes away some of the confidence, because the thing is, we overthink. When something happens, it's almost, we think about what other people think. If I process it now, if everybody had the time again, who was in that business, including me, we would've made different decisions. One of the decisions would've been, I probably wasn't the right person for that role.
Paul: and from my perspective, that's important, because I've learned it's flattering when people approach you for a job, and sometimes you don't think you just sign on the dotted line. That's probably what I did. And there was probably a lot of that, not just in that business, but in a lot of companies. So to answer your question, it felt, personal and I felt, I guess, em embarrassed by it. And, and, and the fact that I'd got another job, you know, your confidence is still quite low at that time, so you do build it up. But the confidence was still quite low.
Stephanie: Let me ask another question. Did the startup go under completely, or was it just you and or other people who were let go individually? Was it a personal failure or was it a company failure?
Paul: Well, I guess it was both. You know what? I guess what I've learned, we all grew from that experience. There was more growth than failure ultimately. But to answer your question, I got made redundant and ultimately the business didn't last much longer. There was a domino effect of different people going at different times. And ultimately the business didn't survive.
Stephanie: I can see would feel personal. That's kind of where I was going with the personal piece. If the business goes under and everybody gets shoved off the boat that's sinking, you know, that's one thing. But when it's just you being let go. Cuz I've been, I've been made redundant a couple of times in my career and it does feel very personal.
Paul: Yeah, it does. And I guess if I hadn't been made redundant and not in some respects failed, I wouldn't be talking to you today. I wouldn't have started my podcast. Cause I've learned a lot and I've learned to view that situation a little bit differently than I would've done before and it's given me a different lens on how I engage different situations that happen in life. And also the way that I'm able to be more empathetic to people that try to do things and if it doesn't work the first time, sometimes we think, well, you know, why are they bothering, why are they doing this? You kind of have a different lens about why people should do things. And if it doesn't work, it doesn't mean that you failed.
The main thing is to be in the arena and to be able to learn and grow. If we don't try and if we don't experience these moments, then the growth is kind of negligible. So it is lovely to be able to use a different lens to look at situations. There's an organizational psychologist called Dr. Benjamin Hardy, he's got a book, called Gap in the Gain. And most people focus on the gap when something happens - say somebody has a presentation and it doesn't go very well, it's very common for people to focus on the fact that didn't go very well. What he talks about is the gain, there's always a gain there. You may have missed something or, you know, one of the slides, there might have been a grammatic error or a table might be not quite right, but the fact is you delivered the presentation. It was a presentation you hadn't done before so there's always a gain somewhere.
Stephanie: Let me pause for just a moment because, you said something about being in the arena and I wanna pause there cuz I don't know that everybody is familiar with it. This comes from a quote by Theodore Roosevelt and it's, long, but let me just read part of it: "it is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming." And it goes on and on, at the end it says "if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." And that piece, I think was made popular by Brene Brown, who has a book called Daring Greatly. So I just wanted to add context to piece about being in the game, and then moving into this insight about from every error there can be gains.
Paul: I wish I could have said that as eloquently as Theodore Roosevelt.
Stephanie: Yeah. Don't we all.
Paul: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Exactly. It's nice to have room for growth.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, of course. of course. Okay, so you were made redundant in 2017, you were 45 and while you got a job shortly thereafter and were able to continue gainful employment, you started really rolling around with this idea of failure. How long were you marinating on the concept of failure?
Paul: A long time. Well, it felt like a long time. It was over a year, I think, initially, I had the thoughts and there were just thoughts that just appeared and came randomly. I could be at lunch, on a Tube, at dinner, in bed, just randomly. I could be in conversations with somebody and they would never know, but I was thinking about failure. So I decided afterabout a year I should do something with this. Maybe I thought about it prior to that, but maybe I didn't have the confidence to actually do anything with it. And then I realized that I love podcasts. I love listening to podcasts and I thought I should do something with it. And I thought, what should I do? Well, maybe a podcast. And then the imposter syndrome kicked in. I'm thinking, well, who's gonna wanna listen to me? Or something that I'm gonna create. And particularly talking about failure, cuz failure has this taboo type stigma to it. Most people, if you bring failure to the conversation, they're, what are you trying to imply? I've fail. People don't discuss that. We live in a world of Instagram where everyone's got a Ferrari, everybody's going to the airport with their Louis Vuitton gear to, not even to get on a chartered plane, to get on their own plane. So I definitely had imposter syndrome, but then I thought to myself, why don't I just not mention it to a lot of people. I mentioned it to about three people that I sort of handpicked, my brother, Norville, who did my website and my work colleague Dan. I thought if I mentioned it to too many people, people would look at me, really, really? Are you okay? So I decided not to, and yeah, 2018, I pretty much crafted the name, crafted in my head what I wanted to do. And then the start of 2019, I created a website and sort of concept and all that type of thing. And I really had imposter syndrome around the idea of me doing this podcast cause at that point it became real. I knew I wanted it to be a discussion base similar to you. I wanted to have discussions with people that were more enlightened than me, had levels of expertise I don't have. Then I had to start reaching out to people, which I love. I quite enjoyed that piece. So I would sit on a Saturday evening, I would just find people that I felt there was some synergy in terms of the narrative that I was looking at. I would research them, send them an email and then hopefully they would respond. And when people responded, it was like, yes! But then it was like, wow, I'm gonna have to do this now. And when people come back and say, yes, you kind of have to, you know, there's a professional like handshake
Paul: so you kind of have do it. I guess I had to embrace the imposter syndrome. I didn't even know what it was actually, I didn't even know the term, the imposter syndrome, but that's what I felt that I had. And yeah, it's been hugely enlightening for me. I've learned a lot. The journey continues. The more I learn, the more I realize, I don't know. So it's a continuous journey.
Stephanie: One of the things that you said to me when we communicated via email, was failures and setbacks are a treasure trove for opportunity for learning, personal and professional development. What did you learn from your quote unquote failure when you were made redundant from the startup?
Paul: Yeah, good question. I didn't recognize this immediately, but having worked in a corporate role or for a corporate company where everything is done for you, it's almost like, it's not like this, but in terms of resources behind you, it's almost like a holiday camp because you've got finance, you've got IT, you've got marketing, you've got this machine that powers you. You walk into your office, the offices that have been cleaned the night before, all the rubbish where you haven't cleaned desk. Your desk is polished and everything is done.
In a startup, it's totally different. You have to engage the finance, you have to engage the marketing you have to be the IT guy, maybe not just for you, maybe for, your colleagues who maybe don't have time to do stuff. So everybody's pitching in. So I learned that I'm a good collaborator. I learned that my capabilities in those areas, like finance, marketing, IT, you know, I'm far capable than I would've ever given myself credit for. And not that I love those areas and I will never be sort of the best person ever at those because I guess there's certain things that I guess, aspire to, but I know that my capability in those is way beyond anything that I could have ever, have anticipated. And I guess most importantly, I've learned that I'm more resilient than I probably would've given myself credit for, because the fact that ultimately I was made redundant, it was my first foray into start up land. And, when we experience failure and setbacks, we do recover. We do recover. And there are opportunities there.
Stephanie: So now that you are ruminating on failure, after this one professional experience, are you noticing other failures in your life that maybe you weren't able to acknowledge before that?
Paul: You know what? It's a good question actually. And, I had been made redundant before, but this one was more, maybe cuz I was in my forties, you know, when you're in your forties, you kind of feel that you are at that point where you've got all the expertise, you've been around the block and you're at a level where you think Hmm, that happened in my twenties, not meant to happen in my forties. So I had failed before and, I can fail again. But I guess ultimately I think I've got to the point that I realize that when when these things happen, there's a different lens that we can put on that situation.
I don't wake up and think, you know, what can I fail at today? Although Sarah Blakely, who found Spanx, she famously says that when she was a kid, her dad would say to her, what did you fail at today at school? And if she said nothing, he would be disappointed because he knew that she wasn't learning as much and she wasn't maybe developing the way that she can do, so although I'm not potentially going out to fail every day, I realized that there's something we can do with this and it's almost like playing hide and seek, it's looking for the clues. That's what I've learned to the clues and I would love to get to the point where the stigma on failure is removed because I do think that, I dunno what it's like in the US, but I certainly think in the UK that the scary thing is when people don't try to do anything cause they think about failure too much. We think about what others think.
Stephanie: You were saying that there's a, a stigma to failure and, what I thought in my head was, is there? Says who? And what do they have to do with me?
I'm curious. And let me just pause and say I have been, we'll use the British terms, I've been made redundant twice in my career. It sounds so much more high brow when you say it that way.
The first time I was in my twenties, and neither time did I see it coming and I think that's certainly a me thing. But, the first time was it this weird little company. I had left a job that wasn't a great fit and gone to this weird little company in Massachusetts, outside of Boston. And I don't know, they did like research or something and I went in there to do some marketing and the owner of the company, it was a very small company. The owner of the company was very much the word in my head is megalomania megalomaniacal and very controlling and he had to have his thumb on everything.I think at the time this was we had PageMaker or Quark Express or something, and he said, build me a something. I don't know if it was a brochure or a flyer or a something. And so I did, I got no more direction than that. And so I did. But it wasn't what he wanted and so it was just wrong. Then I think it was, well, I'll do it instead of any sort of direction or feedback or, you know, anything like that. They would have people come in and bring lunches in and stuff. The job only lasted three weeks and by the third week, they had me washing dishes in the ladies room after their lunches. They weren't giving me much to do and then they had me washing dishes. And I remember going what the heck? what is on here? Actually, I might have been in my early thirties now that I think about it, but anyway, he called me in one day, he called me into his office and he said, I think we're gonna terminate you. And I said, what does that mean? I literally had no idea. I was naive.
Paul: Is that a pay raise?
Stephanie: Exactly. Am I doing that well?
Paul: A bonus? Is that a bonus thing? Great.
Stephanie: And so, yeah, he said, no, you're getting fired. And I remember leaving that job sort of in a whirlwind, sobbing, crying, I just didn't know what had happened. Butalso, I been older, had I been more confident, had I been able to speak up for myself, had I been able to do any of those things, I would've realized that this was a very bad fit and I was not gonna gel with this guy. I'm too, autonomous. I'm too outspoken. I'mI have my own thoughts and ideas. So that was the first time.
Paul: Can I just interject? What you summarize the end, that's the ga me. You know, when I talked in game. So that is the game. So what you've got there, you've got some really clear insights on what isn't a good fit and what is a good fit. And those are things, when you write those things down and you isolate them, when we're thinking about new situations in the future, we know that the next role has to have some of this and doesn't have to have some of that.
Stephanie: yeah, yeah. I think I didn't necessarily have that much insight on it at that point. The sort of immediate gain for me was being out of that bad situation and then having to find a job and, and finding one that was a better fit, which I did do.
My second experience with being made redundant was in my mid thirties. And it was a job that I had been recruited to by someone I had known in high school. The job description to me, was the ultimate. I thought, I'm gonna be here for 15 years. This is gonna be amazing.
Stephanie: And the first year was great, and then there was a transition in leadership at the company. And so the people who had brought me in and who had respected me and understood my worth and my value we're no longer in that leadership position. And so then, when the new regime came in, it wasn't as good of a fit. And so then there was the next you know, almost year was this downward spiral of misaligned understanding of what my job was and was I supposed to be the professional here providing services or are you just telling me what to do? Then there was the making mistakes and getting in trouble and losing confidence and making mistakes and getting in trouble and losing confidence and just sort of circling the drain, until the day where the managing partner came in with the head of HR and again, Paul, I'm telling you, they came in my office, they shut the door and he sat down and I was like, Hey guys, what's going on? What, you know, what, what's up? Like thinking like we were gonna talk about a something or other. And again, instead it was, he said,we're gonna terminate you and I literally laughed in his face cuz I was like, are you kidding me? But to me at that point, the gain from that was enormous in that, I would not have been courageous enough to leave that job on my own. And, it set me up to work with a career coach that I had known, and to then launch my marketing agency, which is 16 years old. Although it was awful and terrible and I still manage some negative thinking about it, I know that it was such the right thing for me on a universal kind of level because I've never fit anywhere professionally like I do at my own company, which sort of makes sense, right? It's cuz it's my own company, cuz I've gotten to build it in a way that suits me and suits my strengths and my weaknesses and my lifestyle and all of those things.
Paul: Yeah. Yeah, it's interesting. It mirrors a lot of the conversations I have on my podcast. So many people they transition and I kind of alluded it to it earlier, around resilience, that I found resilience in my failure, but I found that people had it in spades loads. The amount of people that have had some really traumatic and difficult moments in their lives. And it's not just work related, it can be health related, it can be relationships. Everybody knows about the famous people like JK Rowling and Oprah and all these people, but there were lots of normal, sort of non-famous people that face very similar, or maybe even worse in some respects, challenges. And they've got this
Paul: strength of character, this inner resilience, inner grit, and they've used that and pretty much bar none, they're all doing fabulous things today that
Paul: if they had a crystal ball when they were in that moment, they would never have probably envisaged they would be leading the lives that they are today. I'm always blown away when I hear these people and listen to these people. It's fabulous. Really.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah, I mean that, that's for sure. Something I can speak to in my own life, and certainly something I can talk about for a lot of the folks that I've interviewed for this podcast, and that is that going through this transition and having everything break down and managing all kinds of failures, whether it's personal, professional, relational, whatever. The things you learn from that and the life you build after that becomes something that you never could have dreamed of. You couldn't have, when you were stuck in that bad place, when I was at that last full-time job that I had, when you were at the startup and things are going badly and you're miserable, but you could never imagine that someday, not so long, someday I'm going to have my own company, I'm gonna be my own boss. I'm not gonna treat people like these people treating people. I'm not gonna act like this and, I'm gonna work with people I like, and I'm gonna do work that I love and that I'm good at and I'm gonna berespected for it, and, and I'm gonna be happy. You can't see that when you're in the depths of it.
Paul: No, no, it's very true.
Paul: There's something Tom Bilyeu his podcast is Impact Theory, he always talks about the idea when something negative happens, as it does routinely in everybody's life, he always says, Okay, what next? What next? Because it's happened that situation's happened. You've got an opportunity. So what next? This is not being harsh, but we can stay paralyzed by this situation, which is kind of quite, quite easy to, or we can think actually what next. You mentioned having a career coach and I always think if you've got somebody like a coach or mentor or somebody, family member, whoever, that you can speak to just to coax us along. Cause I always think that we need collaboration. We need support whether it's our spouse, close friend, a mentor.
Paul: it's important that we don't try and do it alone because, we don't need to. There's other people that can listen to us and give us the right sort of counsel, as and when we need it.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Well, and I can speak for myself, too. One of the things I learned from that career coach, we did a bunch of assessments. I'm like, 36 at the time and I'm rolling my eyes. I'm like, I know what I'm good at, lady, I don't to do these assessments. But we did the assessments and one of them showed that you know, I was an, an off the charts extrovert, which is not a surprise to anyone. But one of the things I didn't know then, which is 16 years ago, was that one of the things about extroverts is not just that we are comfortable or get energy when interacting with people, but a lot of times we don't even know what we think until we've said it out loud, until literally out here in the air out in front of us. I've spoken before about how I've worked with a career coach, I've had a couple of business coaches, I've worked with some spiritual advisors. I talk about how I've worked with some of these people, but for me, I know it's because a lot of times I don't even know what I think until it comes outta my mouth and I'm actually batting it around with someone. My business coach recently said to me, all I have to do is listen to you in order to give you the right answer,
Paul: Yeah. Yeah.
Stephanie: Which is funny, uh, cuz I do some of that with my clients as well. Yeah. having whether it's a friend or a family member, a coach or an advisor or a mentor, it's, absolutely useful to work through some of these stickier of our situations that we find ourselves in.
Paul: Totally. I'm totally in line with that. I do think that it's nice to be able to find one or two people that we can lean into. And to your point earlier about stigma, I do agree. I think you were going with it around what other people think. You know, we, We tend tap into what other people think, and surprisingly, most people, I think we think that people think about us more than they actually do.
Paul: So we get obsessed with what other people think. And, sometimes they barely even register. I learned something recently that the mind has a propensity to think about negative things from, four or five times more in strength purposes than they would in terms of a positive. So if something negative happens, you need five or four positive situations to mitigate that one negative, if that makes sense.
Stephanie: Interesting. Yeah. it does make sense. It's interesting.
Paul: So, that's something that I try. And, On the podcast we talk about things like reframing a lot. We talk about self-talk. So sometimes if, say, our coach isn't there, sometimes we can say, Paul, you can do this. Paul, this isn't as bad as you think. Paul, you've done this before. Well, actually somebody that I admire has done, has done this. You can do this. You do have the ability. So we can bring these little tools to the surface as and when we need them because I firmly believe that we all have, a gene of capability and achievement
Paul: it's just being aware of it. It's just having that awareness and having the right people around us.
Stephanie: You just touched on something. We keep doing this to each other. You just touched on something I was gonna ask. After doing a podcast about talking about failure for three or four years now, what new tools have you learned that if you were to find yourself experiencing some major catastrophic failure, again, like the getting laid off, how would you approach it differently?
Paul: I guess the proof is in the pudding, isn't it? When these situations happen, how do you get back up again? There's lots of different things I've learned, some of which we've just discussed, maybe speaking to somebody. We talk about effective masterminding: having certain people in our camp that are good for certain things, certain people are good for work situations, some people are good for financial, some people are good for health, some people are quite helpful for the disasters. Maybe I've got a couple of people that I can speak to in those scenarios. But I'm a great fan of, I didn't know this before, I'm ashamed to say, fixed mindset and growth mindset. Carol Dweck talks a lot about a growth mindset and I lean into that quite heavily. That there's always a way to process something differently. Where there's an obstacle, there's a way. I definitely lean into that a lot. All the conversations that I've had and not just those conversations, it's the content that I read now, the audio books that I listen to, connecting with people like you, I just feel that I am, and I'm a long way from being in a finished article, but that is an opportunity for me. Cause it means that there's still lots of growth to be had. Growth mindset is really important.
Paul: The opportunityto reframe, the opportunity to not judge, we need to give ourselves room to think, room to pause and, room to mull over again. where is the gold here? If we think about anybody that we've admired, a parents or a famous actor, a famous author, it could be anything, if we scratch the surface, these people invariably have all navigated and overcome huge obstacles.
Paul: I want to be one of those people, I want to be at the top of the hill and somebody thinks, well, hmm, that's how has he done that? But when they, when they scratch the surface, they say, actually this guy's been made redundant more times than anybody you could ever meet in your life. So, yeah, I'm mindful that I'm not the finished article. I still do fail, but I like to think that it doesn't have the same debilitating impact on me that it did have in 2016 and before then.
Stephanie: I love that you bring up the concept of the growth mindset. Last season I talked to a man by the name of Serban Mare, who I believe was originally from Romania and moved to the United States when he was 22. His whole episode was about growth mindset how he had applied it to his life. And, I think that was episode 31. So if anybody else is interested in this concept of growth mindset, there's a little bit more. That's the fun thing about doing these, and I'm sure you're seeing this on your podcast as well, that the more people you talk to, the more commonalities you're finding, while everybody's story is unique, there are commonalities. There are, I haven't quite got them yet, but there are sort of archetypes that help you comprehend and make sense of the topic.
Paul: Yeah, absolutely. Well, I'll be listening to that episode because we all have an opportunity to absorb content.
Paul: I guess I'm more mindful of the stuff that I listen to that I read I would've been in my thirties. In my forties, I just realized that the content I read, what I listen to, the conversations that I have, the people that I choose to spend time with, is more considered. To be honest, it's becoming more organic, it's definitely becoming more organic, but I realize as we get a little bit older, a little bit wiser, that, you know, quality time is important. That we spend where it doesn't provide value, and I think as you get into those forties, sometimes you might question it in the moment when you're having a discussion. Wow, I shouldn't be having a discussion. I'm actually bored. I don't need to be in this moment and you think about how you can exit it. Those situations become less and less because we know how to avoid them.
Stephanie: Right, right, right. Yeah. So the concept of sort of choosing how we spend our time and making sure that we're spending it meaningfully. And it only needs be meaningful to us. Right. Whatever that may be. So I like what you're saying about how now you think about what you're reading and you think about what listening to and you're awake about that. You're conscious of it.
Paul: Yeah, so, I'm laughing because I remember I used to go to work, finish work, come home, have a shower, have something to eat, sit down in front of the TV and just slouch and watch some absolute garbage in terms of some of the TV that I'd watched, and I wish I could get that time back.
Stephanie: That's funny that you say that. I am on the absolute opposite camp of that.
Paul: Really, really?
Stephanie: Well, I guess I could put my feet in both camps because, at the end of the day, the work that I do, the work that you do, it's all brain work. It's not brawn work, right. You're, using your brain and for me, it's intense, owning and running a small business. It's a highwire act. So, at the end of the day when I go home, I watch a lot of stupid television at night. Part of it is, that's how my husband and I spend quality time together, is we actually watch the shows together and we get into things together, but I do find that I personally need I like to just say I like to let my brain melt out my ear for a little while. And if I sit in front of some stupid television, then I don't have to engage, its almost a relaxation for me. But on the other hand, there are other times and places where I'm consuming content that I'm much more thoughtful about and I'm much more careful about, what I'm consuming. But on the TV after work piece, I'm still a brainless, mindless entertain me consumer.
Paul: Yeah. Well, for me and there are some things that I watch aren't, you know, I guess it's the battle of opinions, isn't it, in terms of what's quality and what's not. But I guess that because I don't know, for the last three or four years I've been on this, not a crusade, but I'm deep into the content, I'm deep into the subject matter, and there's never enough time in a day.
Stephanie: Yes. That is true.
Paul: So, I'm always thinking, that time is such animportant commodity. I had all this time, oh, you know, a few years ago, and I didn't even think about it. And now there just isn't enough hours in a day. Not that that's a problem, but it's a reality.
Stephanie: I know.
I do this thing at night where we'll have dinner and we have the terrible, terrible habit, but it's ingrained now, we eat in front of the TV so we'll watch little bit of TV at night and then at 10 o'clock, I say, all right, I'm done. And for me, I call 10 to 11 o'clock reading hour.
Stephanie: And so I'll go to bed and crawl in bed with with a book. Andthat's the place that I'm much more thoughtful about what I'm consuming and reading. And a lot of it is again, reading for escapism, but then there's the personal growth stuff and there's the spiritual stuff and the business books. So yeah, I still have a foot in each camp. I do a little bit of both.
Paul: Yeah. And I think the reading stuff, particularly before you go to bed, I think that's a good practice because, and even if it's, escapism, because it just feeds the brain, doesn't it? The brain starts thinking in ways that, ideas and thoughts spin up. In the mornings, at the moment, I never used to do this, but I get on a bike and exercise and stuff and I like doing it equally just because my brain starts thinking, I have those little, not eureka moments, but those little moments where I think actually I need to put that in a note or I need to send myself an email cuz it's stimulating thoughts. So, it has been an interesting journey, but I still feel that the journey's in its infancy in terms of my knowledge base and what I want to learn.
Paul: I like that because it means that, alluding to what I was saying before, there's a lot of opportunity for growth and regardless of being in our forties and beyond, it's nice to think like that. That's why I love what you are doing, because I do think that you can get to certain ages and people think that it is kind of downhill.
Stephanie: It doesn't ever have to be.
Paul: Yeah. So Stephen Pressfield he's got a number of books. One of them's is called the War of Arts, and the other one's called Turning Pro. He talks about the shadow life, like when we end up doing a job for 10, 15, 20, 30 years, and we kind of know deep down that I'm not sure about this, but that you have that compound effect, that we do it all the time and there might be something that we really would like to do, but we feel resistance and fear stops us from doing it. So he talks about the resistance a lot, we're not able to manage the resistance. The resistance is good. It's difficult, it's a challenge, but when, when we feel resistance at the other side of that, there's opportunity. And He talks about shadow lives and it's the idea that is very easy to actually live a shadow life, which isn't really the life that was intended to. And he's an author, his books are brilliant, but I think he published his first book in his fifties, and I think he did probably about 40 odd jobs to get to that point. He was writing and stuff, but it just wasn't happening. He worked in advertising, he worked as a trucker. I think he was a cowboy. He did such a wide variety of jobs, but you know, he thinks that everybody, again probably can confront the resistance, we all convene into really what our life purpose is. So he's really interesting.
Stephanie: I'll have to go look that up. Thank you for sharing that. Paul, I have enjoyed our conversation so much. Will you tell us the name of your podcast where you can find it, and sort of what it's about?
Paul: Yeah, so the podcast is about failure, you probably might have gathered, and it's called My Perfect Failure, and you know, it's on Apple, Spotify, so all the platforms. The reason I put the podcast together is because I failed and then I thought well, there's lots of people that actually use failure as opportunities, and they actually go on to do bigger, better and fabulous things. And they've become far more rounded and resilient and contented with life, and
Paul: out of, not jealousy, but in terms of intrigue, I wanted that in my life. And then I thought to myself, well, why shouldn't everybody have that in their lives? And I, cause I think that,
Paul: every one of us has the ingredients to do wonderful things, but what holds us back, in certain cases, can be when we hit those difficult moments, when we use failure as a sign to say that we should never try
And that is a huge challenge for a lot of us. And. I just want to be a part of that conversation where we are able to give people examples and ideas and tools that they can take away. Everybody listens differently, but hopefully people can take away one or two things that they can use to kind of give them a little bit more of a hopeful and accurate appreciation of a situation that might happen to them at work, personal life, in health or financial. So, yeah, It's lovely having these conversations and, from a selfish perspective, I get to learn.
Stephanie (2): Yeah, I will include a link over to your podcast in the show notes so that people can go and find it and hear more about other people's failures and how they can relate to them themselves. So Paul, thank you so much for joining me today. I really appreciated having you and I enjoyed this conversation thoroughly.
Paul: Thank you. I love what you're doing. I think it's fabulous.
I think 40 when we get to our forties. I think we all, I love what you did actually.It is funny when I guess you get into the spirit of podcasting, you kind of research like, you know, even though I'm coming on your show, you, I like to research and I loved researching you and I loved what you did for your 40th. Engaging with, 40 different people and how it's transitioned your life and, uh, yeah. I almost think you should write it, need to write a book. I dunno whether that's part of your roadmap, but I certainly think that should that that be something that you,
Stephanie: funny that you say that because for almost 10 years, I was trying to write a book. A friend of mine and I, he became my writing partner and we developed a book proposal and he actually is an author of books, so he has some contacts in the publishing industry. So we would take the proposal out and pitch it to people. We would pitch it to agents and we had an agent for a year, a year and a half. And we always got very good feedback on the concept, right? People would say like, oh, that's such a great idea. That's so cool. And they would either say like, oh, it's not for me, or, try this person. And interestingly, I think even just the positive feedback was something that you normally don't get from publishing industry, But ultimately they wouldn't take a risk on this book because I wasn't to your point earlier, Oprah or, JK Rowling or even a contestant on a reality show somewhere. And so they, even though the idea was great, there was no, what they call a platform, right? I didn't have a built in audience that was ready to buy the book. So, the book proposal never really went anywhere, though we revised it through the years and we'd cyclically like, you know, oh, this year we're gonna work on it, and we'd work on it and we'd send it out and get feedback and let it sit for a year and do the same thing. So, two years ago I took an online course on marketing tactics, but they were tactics that I don't really use for my clients. They were things like communities and memberships and courses and podcasts. And I knew what a podcast was, I knew what all of these things were. I just wasn't aware of how people were applying them. And so when I thought of the podcast, I thought, you know, the thing with the publishing industry is that there was always a gatekeeper and there was always somebody that able to say no and prevent you from moving forward. And as you know, with a podcast you don't even need to invest in a microphone and you could be a podcaster. So I thought much like you, let me dig into this. Let me try this. And part of the roadmap is, you know, part of the dream, the big dream if I'm talking about it out loud.
Paul: Yeah, should do, should do Definitely. Talk about loud. Yeah.
Stephanie: Right. Let's say it out loud. I want people to find this podcast. I want them to find this podcast to be helpful and useful and interesting and entertaining and build an audience to the point you know, maybe we do get to write the original book. but already I can see even by the time this episode goes live, I think you're interview 55 or 56 or something, there are already other things bubbling up, other content that's possible, on what I'm learning from other people and the interviews like I was talking about earlier, some of the commonalities and things that. So, you know, maybe it will be the original book. I would love that, maybe it will be a different piece of content, whether that's a book or something else. But, yeah, the dream is definitely to grow it.
Paul: Ah, totally. Absolutely. And is the book, is it around your podcast 40 Drinks around your turning 40? Or is this something different?
Stephanie: So the, the original book is about my 40 Drinks Project.
Paul: Okay. Okay.
Stephanie: There was the 40 Drinks Project that I did when I turned 40. Not only the drinks, but what was going on in my life at the time. And there were definitely, arcs that we were gonna weave into the book. There were romantic arcs, there were friendship arcs. There were just the arcs about the drinks and some of the sort of major whammies, those sort of mind blowing, revelations from some of those drinks. There was this whole story around the 40 Drinks Project and what was the subtitle? The 40 Drinks Project, Life, Love, Friends, and A Good Drink or something like that.
Paul: Even reading your, I think it was on your website somewhere, I read the description of career and everything leading up to your 40thand what you did, to me it's a no-brainer. I actually see it. I 100% think you shouldcontinue with that. I get to speak to a lot of our authors similar to you because of the podcasting and I guess from speaking to them, I know that you can do this. I know that you can do this. I think sometimes, like you just did, we have to speak it aloud and it just creates that intent, the universe works in mysterious way. Honestly,I think it could be quite significant, as and when you do this. Just the ingredients of what you've put together. Honestly.
Yeah. Yeah. My friend, Mark and I, who had been working on the proposal for so long, we both thought the same thing. We thought, the ingredients were there, there was drama, there was transition, there was change. There was Act one, two, act three. We really did put a lot of, a lot of thought and, and energy into it. And, one of my girlfriends, told me recently, we were talking about the book and the podcast and all of that. And I was saying that coming this direction and starting with the podcast there were no gatekeepers, I was able to just start and do my own thing and she said something to the effect of, well, maybe the spirit of the idea, didn't want to be a book at first andYeah. Maybe.
Stephanie: that the podcast was the way to build that that visibility, you find find people who are interested in it.
Yeah. I 100% think people would be interested it. But when you initially talked, and I was thinking that a lot of the significant authors that we know today, and people that have written and are known for great books and, and what have you, they get rejected and rejected and rejected and rejected. Like, we wouldn't believe and it's that the world is such a misleading place because when we celebrate people, we very rarely talk about the fact that these people struggled initially, it very rarely gets mentioned. And every media platform you can think of, it just positions them as this beacon, this and these amazing people that are so gifted at whatever they're doing at that time. You're right. The success is the thing that is celebrated.
Paul: Yeah, but these people, the struggles and the rejections and it's all there. It's literally all there. So in a funny sort of way, the path that you and your colleague Mark are navigating, is kind of like the logical path to navigate. If you put your book proposal in and it got accepted immediately, you think am I on Candid Camera or something, what's going on here? It doesn't,happen that people just roll the red carpet out, give us a glass champagne and stuff. So, it's probably telling you that you need to knock on different doors and have conversations. Cause I generally feel that just from reading the little on the website and some of the emails that we've exchanged, I think, wow, this is like got everything. And you can tell that you are good at writing cause the way that you crafted it just gives you that feeling that, actually I want to, I need to read more of this, it can't end here. I need to know the content.
Stephanie: Yeah. Well, I'll tell you what,I'll tell you a little tiny secret, and this is just for you Paul, and maybe people who are listening. Chapter one of the book, actually we have a couple of chapters written, but chapter one is still hidden on my website and I'm gonna share it with you.
Paul: Ah, amazing. I please do, please do. Honestly, I was reading it beforehand. It like, I can sit down with a cup of tea and whatever, and just like read that. So I definitely, I hope that, you know, I know you are very busy, but I hope at some point you guys do revisit it. Honestly, I think it be huge.
Stephanie: Thank you. I think at this point, it's just gonna be organic. Right now I'm focused on the podcast and I have a, you know, I have a, a big, you know, sunshiny, big hairy, audacious goal in front of me and I'm just working towards that and I hope the book becomes a part of that at some point.
Paul: Exactly. I always, I'm saying as you, I've got huge ambitions and I think sometimes we just need a seed.
We don't need to be amazing at everything. We just need to be amazing at one thing. Sometimes we can spread ourselves too thin when we try and do everything, and sometimes we just have to pick the right priorities, and then once we've nailed that priority, then we can lean into what the next situation is. We're all limited in terms of resource and capacity, so
Paul: you know, the book will will be there. But I love what you're doing with the podcast and this obviously in terms of audience and people that this obviously helps that with any book in the future.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Well, let's hope that this podcast finds its legs and finds an audience that loves it, and then the rest will fall into place.
Paul: What, what it already has it's growing and it's gonna get bigger and just gonna get more connected. All all good things take time.
Stephanie: yeah, yeah. They do.
Paul: And I'm honored to be a guest on your show, and hopefully you can come to mine as well. We can have another lovely conversation.
Stephanie: I could tell you all about my failures. Let's do that I'll be thrilled to come on your show and talk about all my many failures.
Paul: Okay, okay. okay. All right then. Well, thank you so much.