On Failure: Q & A with Ivy Huq Russell of Maya

On Failure: Q & A with Ivy Huq Russell of Maya

A brilliant mediation of ideas and inspiration on failure, startup and life to ignite our minds

“Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do it – not even you”-years back Ivy told us during an interview about her startup Maya and her journey to the world of entrepreneurship. Almost two years later we asked Ivy about failure and it resulted in a brilliant mediation of ideas and inspiration to ignite our minds. As you will go through this piece you will find these words hold truth from the field and that failure is what makes us who we are.

We hope Ivy’s story and insight will give you a different perspective to look at failure, inspire you during those moments of despair and will give you the strength to stand up every time you fall. Happy making 🙂 

What is your take on failure?

Failure is bittersweet to me. However, it enables me to understand that my focus was not in the right place. It simply tells me: Reflect, Learn and go for it again.

Have you failed ever? Please briefly tell us a story of your failure and lessons you have learned.

Ever? I have failed numerous times. The definition of failure varies depending on where I am in life. When I was in school not getting even 70%, was a form of failure. Not getting into that dream University was a form of failure. When I graduated and was applying for jobs and was not getting much luck – that was failure. But failure has its own virtue – I literally kept a huge / thick file full of rejection letters sitting in front of me – which made me more and more determined to get a job in the field I want and finally I did.

When I finally got a job in private wealth management – I was more than ever driven to take on challenges and it made me that much more determined to succeed. What I learnt is those moments of failure, when I got each of the rejection letters, made me realize the value of earning it.

What is the most important aspect of failure to you?

To me failure is more of a delay, and not defeat.

However, when you are struck by a letdown or a roadblock, at that very minute it’s really really really hard to see past that point and I truly empathize with those out there who feel this way. I cannot stress enough how important it is to bounce back from it. Not doing anything about it, breeds self doubt and fear.

I do want to point out that self doubt (and even failure) is part of the building mechanism, which you are building internally to unleash something that is about to emerge from within you. So recognize it and give that extra push – just as a mother gives that one final push to bring her baby into the world – you just need that determined push to bring your native small byte sized idea into life.

My own journey with Maya.com.bd has been the same and I clearly haven’t made it to where I want to be nor do I know how long will it take. Each roadblock makes me want to take another route. So in this journey I feel how startups should look at failure is to realize success isn’t about getting where you want to be but it’s about accepting and appreciating where you are at each point.

How should startups look at failure?

I believe that Startups should feel free to try, stumble, fall, get back up, try again, and learn as they go. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that. At each step you will encounter criticism – sometimes constructive and sometimes not. Sometimes members of your own family may not understand what you are setting out to do. Sometimes friends and acquaintances, who you thought might be your pillar to rely on may not be encouraging – and all this will de-motivate you, sometimes hurt you but the crucial thing is to have the vision in your mind and keep going.

My own journey with Maya.com.bd has been the same and I clearly haven’t made it to where I want to be nor do I know how long will it take. Each roadblock makes me want to take another route. So in this journey I feel how startups should look at failure is to realize success isn’t about getting where you want to be but it’s about accepting and appreciating where you are at each point.

I do hope that people in Bangladesh are more accepting and open-minded towards new ideas – there is nothing more amazing than sharing your idea with someone who is genuinely interested and approaches any criticism with an open mind and positive attitude. I believe that this is already starting to happen more, and it’s fantastic to see so many entrepreneurs looking to launch new companies aimed towards solving mass-scale challenges in Bangladesh like transportation, trade, education and the list goes on.

I’d encourage entrepreneurs to be part of the startup community where we have each other’s back – where everyone at similar stages will cheer you on saying: It’s Okay, you fell – now get up and go again!

Note: Thanks to Samantha Morshed for editing this.

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