We thank Jess Tyler for contributing this blog to Business Tasmania.
No, ‘SoUE’ is not a new marketing term. It’s something we’ve all experienced, a ‘Series of Unfortunate Events’. While SoUEs might make you feel as though you’ve failed, they actually carry important lessons for survival.
The book A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket is a must-read, not only because it’s a jolly good laugh, but because it contains valuable lessons on coping with and learning from adversity.
Everybody has one or several SoUEs in the course of running their business – even the most successful business owners. SoUEs are there to help us learn from our mistakes and refocus our goals.
In Snickett’s book, the evil protagonist Count Olaf assumes various disguises and causes all kinds of hardship. Business owners are no strangers to their own metaphorical Count Olafs. He can appear in many guises – an unhappy customer, someone who pips us at the post with the ‘Next Big Thing’ or even an economic downturn. Sometimes the Count is our own tired ideas and stale products. And sometimes you can feel that Count Olaf has become a permanent family member!
But does having a SoUE mean that you’re a serial failure? On the contrary, weathering your SoUE can make you more determined and focused, by forcing you to address important questions. Any SoUE that brings learning, new awareness and development is not the same as making mistakes repeatedly. Rather, surviving a SoUE can make you more determined than ever.
For me, my SoUE saw me questioning whether I was cut out for a solo career. But after emerging from my SoUE I concluded that I am actually destined to work by myself, for myself. There’s no other way I want to live. I might make mistakes, but this is my passion and without that I might as well shut the doors.
I can’t think of very many businesses or people who were instant successes. There’s no reality TV show for working hard in business, because it’s long, often gritty work. But the reward is self-determination. So count me in.
In all business advice books and blogs, you’ll hear that you need to adapt, improvise and overcome adversity to succeed. Roughly translated – stuff happens.
The lessons you learn will be unique to you, but I’ve found at the times when I’ve needed to brace for another SoUE, reflecting on how I came through the last lot is edifying. It helps me to not only survive, but to come out on top.
What lessons did you learn from your SoUE?
Jess is a business owner of Synapsium and an invited founding member of the Tasmanian Science & Technology Council and of the Australian Science Communicators . She has worked with some of Australia’s leading innovators and research agencies including the Australian Commission for the Future, the Australian Antarctic Division and many divisions of CSIRO.
Jess is a three-times finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.