"Love the comic book for Type 1 diabetes…very inspiring. Plus the Super six model…great news on that too"- she said.
The ego felt a tad more inflated. "Thank you-nothing special- anyone can do that"- I said with a grin and a tinge of early morning self-grandiose false modesty. "But…" her voice trailed off…"but its pretty impossible for anyone, isn't it? Look at what you have done..you never fail..pretty special- but don't think that's for anyone"
A bit more small talk- and she walked away from the corridor conversation. A junior doctor on the wards- full of beans, full of ideology….but those words made me think.
"You never fail"
Really? Me? Never fail? As I look back, the career has been laced with failures- perhaps we as leaders never talk about them. Perhaps we just are to afraid to fail, too shy to admit defeat. It certainly made me think…is that a self created perception? The "hero" who never fails? The one with the Midas touch?
So todays blog is about failures- or at least a few of them- and I will try to be as honest as possible…why? Because each one of them hurt, And it hurt a lot.
Lets rewind back to 2002. Had finished a Locum post in Bournemouth, and reasonably confident in getting a training number in the Wessex region. Along with me were 2 other locums that day. I interviewed well- or so I thought. No dice. Everyone got a post- except me. Effectively I was the worst. 2 posts- 3 candidates. Didn't get it. And boy.. it hurt. That was a proper crossroad of my career…a whisker away from giving up diabetes as a career- even filled in a radiology application. Haunted by comments about "perhaps you should go back to the Midlands"- I was close to even considering packing my bags and going back to India. But then I met Iain Cranston- my first foray into Portsmouth..the rest? History.
A quick jump forward to 2005. A research post in a prestigious institution. Knew the ones who interviewed me, had worked there. 2 applicants-1 post. No dice again. That stung too- feedback suggested I didn't have enough leadership skills. Again, Portsmouth came to the rescue…a research post, 3 years later, an MD….failure had just simply opened up another door.
A few years later…riding high on a crest. Youngest CD in hospital. New model of care in place. Surely a shoo-in for the Chief of Medicine job? Blogs were written in hope- and then about the subsequent drop from the dizzy heights of success. Look it up- you will see the hope- and then the crash.
That taught me a lot of things- the power of politics, who your friends were, how dynamics worked…it also taught me that you never take anything for granted. That also opened up the subsequent chances of working with a CCG, working as a clinical manager with a community provider- and of course, now the national role. Unlikely I would have been able to do any of those. One failure? Doors to other arenas
I could go on and on. The grant application rejections, the rejection by Diabetes UK as regards their Professional Council, failing in a Discharge Co-ordinator role -getting sucked into a mesh of politics….career is littered with them. To those who read my blogs, I absolutely will not ask you to take away that my career has been laced only with success- on the contrary- the lows have been more than the highs.
So there you go. People remember your success. they remember the good times, the awards, the accolades…people see the Super Six model of care success, they did not see the sense of insult, rage, burning of soul when in public a manager asks you to leave a room as you tried to force the issue of patient safety & 7 day services in diabetes care. Its the totality which makes you who you are.
So to anyone who reads this?
My name is Partha Kar. I am one of the pioneers of the Super six Model, I am an innovator who is part of many successful initiatives. I also have failed many many times. I am also never ashamed of them. The key lies in learning from them- and trying again. See what other opportunities open. Don't be afraid to fail- its only part of a fantastic journey.
Thats what makes it all worthwhile. And anytime you feel down about failing? Come and have a chat- I have been an old hand at failing.