Bob Moul, a Philadelphia tech CEO with 35 years experience ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies (most notably former CEO at Artisan Mobile & Dell Boomi, and current CEO of Cloudamize) has looked failure square in the eyes and has lived to talk about it. His experience of facing failure is a tale of hubris, greed, betrayal, catastrophy, a broken conference room table, faith and healing.
In 2015, Bob experienced the worst failure of his 35 year career in technology with the collapse of his startup company "Artisan Mobile." The failure was very public in the press and could easily have been the cause of huge professional embarrassment and even potentially career ending. As the dust from the battle for the scraps of his dreams & weighty existential questions danced through his head, Bob turned to Google as he searched for:
Obviously, there are a bazillion different answers for such a complex question but as Bob searched Google and conversed with God, he realized that he had no choice but to make some fundamental changes in order to become the person he wanted to be and to live the life he desired.
4 Fundamental Changes To Make After Failure:
1. Do the hard work to heal and forgive
Often in the wake of failure comes damage to ourselves and our relationships. In such a circumstance, it is easy to find ourselves caught in the traps of bitterness, resentment, and rage. However, as the saying goes, “Holding on to anger and harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Doing the work of healing and forgiving is indeed work. It may require speaking with a wise friend, working with a Stephen Minister here at Saint Luke, or meeting with a therapist. In some cases, the voice of wisdom can come through a book like Beverly Engel’s “Healing Your Emotional Self.” Regardless of which path towards healing you take, be brave, explore the areas that you most want to shy away from, and remember to smile. Joy will come again.
2. Commit yourself to living with purpose and intention
““The two most important days in your life are the day you were born, and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain. Finding your purpose is more than selecting a career path or deciding where to clock in your 9-5. It is discovering why you are alive! For Bob, exploring with God the reality that he was here to do God’s works was a powerful journey filled with listening, carefully noticing feelings, and imagining the future. Some helpful tools along the way were “The Psychology of Achievement” by Brian Tracy and “The Power of Intention” by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
3. Change your mindset
Perspective is everything. We don’t always get to choose what happens to us in life BUT we DO get to choose how we respond. As we leave a negative mindset where we are constantly lacking something, competing, beating ourselves up, or are easily offended, we can begin to see the world through different eyes. One way to help create the mental space needed to change a mindset is through prayer and meditation. A helpful free meditation app, known as Headspace, can be a huge help when trying cultivate more stillness, self-awareness, and compassion.
4. Change your scorecard
Something powerful happens when your “currency” changes. No longer is money the only desired commodity or the clearest representation of success. Instead, abundance in areas like family, friends, marriage, traditions, and experiences are seen as treasures that comes with a meaningful life. A recommended resource to explore this idea more is Clayton M. Christensen’s book, “How will you Measure Your Life?”
God, our purpose and our hope, when we feel like any victory is out of reach, strengthen our hearts for the work of healing and the privilege of living out your will. Purify our intentions and perspectives, so that we may see the treasure in following and loving you.
Special thanks to Bob Moul for his contributions to this post.