Triumph through failure (and practical tips on how to persevere)

Quite some years ago in a field sales role within the hospitality sphere, part of my role was to present talks on the services we provided. A lot of the presentations were to businesses whom used our services or a business which sold our service onto other companies that would potentially use our services.

It was a competitive field but a fun one. Standing out and being unique yet professional was important. On this one occasion, I decided I would tell a joke. Note now that this wasn’t my joke.

My boss then had told me a service based joke around one of our products that she thought was a good ice breaker and really funny. Not thinking too much on it I thought it would be good to incorporate it into my usual patter.

Arriving at the location it was a gloriously sunny day and I felt confident in what I was about to deliver. I met with several of my counterparts from other locations and we all ordered ourselves according to who would deliver their presentations at what time.

When it came to mine I started off with confidence and then I came to my joke… It’s safe to say that it was a tumble weed, a lead balloon, an absolute bombshell.

No one laughed, no one giggled, no one even stifled a noise of any kind that showed support of humour. The room fell deafly silent for what felt like an eternity.

Of course, in reality it wasn’t an eternity and whilst it probably would have been advantageous for me at least had the ground have opened right up and swallowed me whole right there and then­­- it didn’t. Plus, that’s the stuff of a fantasy story. Isn’t it? This was real life and the show must go on. Right?

I powered through. I was mortified but I didn’t have time to think as I had to finish my speech and then let others do the same after me. After the presentations were finished it was time to mingle.

Do you know what I did? I put my game face on and I went and mingled amongst those that hadn’t laughed at my joke. I chatted with my co-workers (who also hadn’t laughed) and I made my way back to the office at the end of it.

My boss and I talked through the event and had a good giggle at my faux-pas. I mean I should have thought it through. The joke wasn’t mine. It wasn’t natural. The audience could sense the lack of authenticity at that moment.

You see really it was clear as the light of day if only I’d thought it through. The joke was a good joke but it wasn’t the joke I had created. Actually, had I have been myself, it would have allowed people to relate to me, gain trust and rapport.

I wouldn’t be remembered for my humour that day but I realised that through my perceived failing came triumph. Lesson learnt, patter adjusted and I would gauge my audience better in future.

My practical tips (they may be useful to you too) that I’ve learnt through my experiences good and bad are;

To push through the barrier, pushing on and persevering creates resilience, it encourages a mindset of growth (which means learning even if things don’t go to plan).

Minor errors such as my joke blunder will be forgotten- move on and don’t let it impact your confidence. Such instances provide the opportunity to laugh about it as I did with my boss and to adjust the path which you navigate as you progress.

Don’t see failing, see potential for growth and new opportunities. Smile your way through, shield your feelings, acknowledge them but don’t let them stop you moving forward and progressing.

Gain strength from mistakes, and triumph through failure. Build the blocks to your path. Success blossoms from us falling down and getting right back up again. Take it like water off a duck’s back, like learning to ride a bike. Be your own motivator.

Be grateful for the small things, take up activities that help you to step away and enable you to gain perspective. Such as taking a walk, running, going to the gym, a change of scenery, the coffee shop or taking the dog out.

Meditation or finding a quiet space to be, may be of benefit or it could be as simple as turning up the tunes and rocking out to your favourite music. let negative feelings wash away and allow positivity to seep back in.

Nothing can ever replace getting a good night’s sleep or if it works for you and around your job, like the greats in history such as Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Albert Einstein you can take a power nap. Everything appears brighter after sleep and when you’ve had a chance to truly recharge, unwind and relax.

Have you had a workplace blunder or two and want to run and hide?

Hands up- I have! You’re not alone, at times we want to cover it up and forget that it’s happened. But by acknowledging your blunders you can learn and grow and adapt for future circumstances.

Life wasn’t created perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist as a natural being. We are all fallible as humans. How would you tell your story so far? The medium of storytelling is a progressive marketing strategy. Storytelling through content marketing, blog articles, imagery, video posts, social media and web content can be advantageous in engaging and attracting your audience.

Telling your tale takes your customer or potential customer on a journey. A journey where through repeat engagement it brings you interaction. Interaction brings you opportunity. Opportunity gives you dialog. And dialog brings you possibilities with your audience.

How do you tell your story to your audience?

You can let me know by emailing me at;, or you can message me directly on LinkedIn at Amber L Smith.

You can also follow me on both Twitter @simplyamberLou and LinkedIn Amber L Smith alongside my website for past and future articles.

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