Study failure for its hidden assets 3

By Charlotte Kemp

Never walk away from failure. On the contrary, study it carefully — and imaginatively — for its hidden assets.

–Michael Korda

I saw it coming for awhile, and eventually the awful decision time is here. I have declared a voluntary liquidation for my business, and it is only voluntary because we are probably a few days ahead of our creditors setting their lawyers upon us.

I owned a franchise business as well as the speaking and training I do professionally, and it was the franchise business that has gone under.

Just like everyone else, I have an ego and pride, and this is hard to take. I have failed. I have made mistakes. I didn’t listen to advice that was given to me. I thought I knew better. Well – the list could go on. In fact it does go on and for quite some time.

I joked, sort of to keep my spirits up, that one day I would write a book about all that I have learned in the process of losing this business and losing all this money. It is always good to reflect on one’s mistakes and to learn from them. It is useful so that you can at least recognize a case of Deja BooBoo – when you feel you have made the same mistake again. But if we are really going to grow, then we need to do the difficult task of changing. Fail – observe – change – observe again!

But last weekend, there were so many thoughts rushing through my mind about what I had done wrong and what I would never do again, that I actually sat down and outlined a book! I got to about 40 things, 40 lessons I had learned or mistakes I had made on the way to this business going broke.

These 40 things need to explored and considered, and I know there are more. So I invite you to join me on this study. Please tell me what you think about the mistakes I made or lessons I learned. Add your own that you have discovered. And feel free to suggest something I may have missed. I like neat numbers so I am sure we can round this off to 50 things. Please come and help me find the hidden assets in this particular failure.

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3 thoughts on “Study failure for its hidden assets

  • Judy Janse van Rensburg

    Hi charlotte,
    As one chapter of your life draws to a close, another is about to be born. You also are now faced with a number of opportunities, such as packaging your knowledge in a variety of ways to teach others and in so doing earn income. The packaging of your knowledge could be a very exciting process given your training and facilitation background. I’m thinking a one hour breakfast talk, perhaps a morning workshop, an e-book, subscription based blog, coaching program on how not to go about franchising, etc.
    This part of your life too will pass, and you would have grown tremendously from this experience looking back a few years from now. If you need any assistance whatsoever, you’re welcome to e-mail me at

  • Anneline Taljaard

    Hi Charlotte and Fanie, All that I can say is that a wise guy once said: You ARE not a failure if you failed and went down, you ARE a failure if you stay down and don’t get up again. I think its human to err! So, three cheers for those who get up again!!!

    The lesson that I have learnt is not to wait too long before you take decisions. There is a critical time for a decision, and if you wait too long. you might reap sour grapes. So, congratulations on making the right (although difficult) decisions on the right time.

  • Fanie Agenbach

    Hi Charlotte. Well, I’m really sorry to hear about your situation but, as it is said, there is a silver lining to every cloud.
    I do not know who said this but it is said:” If you want to succeed in life, start failing” The road to success is through making mistakes and, as you are doing now, to write them down never to do the same mistakes again. I walked this road many times. I tried to do so many things and most of them failed but the last 7 years is much better than those before.
    Now please do not put an ettiquette on me for saying this but the biggest mistake I made in the past was to try and do business without guidance and help from above. I tried everything out of my own and the harder I tried the harder I failed. This does not mean that I am not making mistakes now. As a matter of fact, I am also reconsidering my position in terms of what the future might hold.

    Anyway, thinking you know all and you can do all by yourself, to me, was (and maybe still is) my biggest mistake.

    Fanie Agenbach