Professionals share their biggest failures with a huge crowd at F**kup Nights Victoria. While the screw-ups might be professional, the pain and consequences that follow are often personal, says organizer Jim Hayhurst. People from all walks of life take the stage during the unfiltered event. (F**kup Nights Victoria/Facebook)

Victoria ‘f**kup’ event shines a light on failure

Victoria event helps to remove the stigma and isolation from screwing up

Robert F. Kennedy once said that “only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly” – but anyone who’s made a mistake (everyone) knows that doesn’t make it any easier to face.

A Victoria event puts failure in the limelight by having professionals take the stage to discuss their biggest screw-ups.

F**kupNights Victoria has been sharing stories of professional missteps and their personal consequences for the last two years. It’s a branch of a global initiative that started in Mexico City six years ago and now has events in more than 250 cities across the world.

Three “f**kuppers” get seven minutes to tell their stories to audiences and have up to 10 minutes to answer questions.

Speakers include everyone from successful tech giants or Olympic athletes to entrepreneurs and even an outdoor guide who was involved in a decision that cost seven people their lives.

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Alongside organizational partner VIATeC (Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology & Entrepreneurship Council), the Victoria event was started by Ian Chisholm and Jim Hayhurst, who experienced failure himself as an entrepreneur.

After their first successful F**kup Nights Victoria event, Hayhurst took the stage to tell his own story.

“I talked about the depression and the loneliness and the isolation that comes with the entrepreneurial journey and not always succeeding,” Hayhurst said. “It’s really heartwarming and confidence-inspiring to get up and tell your story and have 200-plus people applaud you for telling them about how badly you screwed up.”

Hayhurst said the event has grown in popularity since it started running it in Victoria, and he thinks it’s filling a void in the narrative around success.

“What’s the difference between trying something and not accomplishing your goal, and really truly having that gut-check moment of, ‘oh my god, it’s over.’” he said. “How do you get back up?”

“A lot of us feel that we don’t really spend a lot of time looking at those failures and really unpacking them…But if you don’t take the time to learn from what you just went through, then guess what? It’s likely that you’re going to make the same mistake again.”

And for many, failure is isolating, Hayhurst added. Especially in a social media-driven world that highlights and rewards our accomplishments.

“[Failure] is something nobody should be shying away from and I think, more and more in our society we should be celebrating people who have that courage.”

The next F**kup Nights Victoria is Feb. 28 at the Duke Saloon. Tickets are sold out, but Hayhurst said the event returns April 25.

He suggests anyone interested follow the F**kup Nights Victoria Facebook page for information on ticket availability.

Tickets are sold through Viatec.ca.

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nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

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F**kup Nights shines a light on failure, helping the speaker and the audience learn from screw-ups. (From left to right: Richard Eaton (speaker), Ian Chisholm (Co-founder), Jennifer Walinga (speaker), Jim Hayhurst (Co-founder) and Ken Wylie (speaker)).

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