Learning from Failure

globe-atlas-backgroundvon Tanis Helliwell

Some years ago The International Institute for Chartered Accountants asked me to be the keynote speaker at their annual convention. The topic was Future Trends: The New Renaissance.

“Great” I thought, “a chance to bridge the spiritual and traditional worlds.”

A few minutes into the presentation I felt that I had not captured the attention of my audience but I pushed forward. Continuing, I felt an increasing resistance from the listeners but I persisted with my pre-arranged talk.

“After all,” I said to myself, “I am telling them the truth.”

When the assessment forms were compiled, one-third of the group were furious with me and about what I had said. Another third stated that they didn’t know what I was talking about. They left the talk in a neutral but confused state. The remaining third of the audience wrote that my talk was brilliant, stimulating and they’d like to hear me again. I learned many things from this painful experience.


Within six months the downturn in C.A. business that I predicted came to pass. I was right about that, as I was right about the paradigm shift that our world was embarked on, BUT, I alienated my audience and most of them negated both me and my ideas. From this experience I learned that it is important to speak to where people are and not say things that will cause separation. Telling people everything that we know may overload them, confuse them and, if it differs too much from their way of knowing, it will cause them to fear and reject both you and your message.


Knowing the correct timing of a topic is essential. Eight years ago very few people had heard of paradigm shift and all that this implied. If we are too far ahead of our time we are considered dangerous by others. and if we are too far behind our time we are boring and then no-one wants to hear us because they’ve already heard that idea. So co-ordinating what we want to say, to the audience at the right time is a tricky balance.


Even as I prepared my presentation for the accountants I realized that it more closely resembled my talks at Findhorn or at Buddhist centres than what I would normally do for traditional organizations. Still I continued—probably out of my own misguided sense of rightness. By doing this I left two thirds of the audience behind. If I had to choose one group to aim at it would have been better to engage the attention of the majority of the audience. If I had done this I would have moved them from confusion to understanding.


I could have mentioned less threatening intuitive ways of knowing which they could easily achieve. It is easier for people to change a few things, if they believe that they have strengths that work, than to change everything, because nothing they do works. We need to focus on people’s strengths and similarities rather than on weakness and difference. The former brings us together and the latter pushes us apart.


I learnt from this experience not to introduce new theories that necessitate people changing their entire belief system without offering them tools to do this. To do so is dis-empowering and puts the emphasis on the problem and not on the solution.


I was so excited by the opportunity to talk about one of my pet interests that I forgot to keep my inner critic awake. It hurt me in the short term because I alienated one third of the audience. Also, it possibly hurt those that resisted my message in the long term because if people don’t accept an important message they will not change. This will lead to personal and organizational disasters because they will not make the necessary changes to survive. Often I’ve found that we learn more from painful situations than when everything goes well. Isn’t it great that we always have new situations where we can implement this learning.

Tanis Helliwell, eine Mystikerin in der modernen Welt, bringt seit über 30 Jahren spirituelles Bewusstsein in die Mainstream-Gesellschaft. Seit ihrer Kindheit sieht und hört sie auf anderen Ebenen Elementarwesen, Engel und Meisterlehrer. Tanis ist die Gründerin des International Institute for Transformation (IIT), welches Programme anbietet, um Menschen dabei zu unterstützen, bewusste Schöpfer zu werden, die mit den spirituellen Gesetzmäßigkeiten arbeiten, durch welche unsere Welt regiert wird.

Tanis ist die Autorin von Elfensommer, Elfenreise, Nicht ganz von dieser Welt, Die Hohen Wesen von Hawaii Umarmt von der Liebe, Mit der Seele arbeiten, Erkenne deine Bestimmung und Die Hohen Wesen von Hawaii.

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