Up Close & F…ed Up with Sheree Rubinstein of One Roof

Do you think it’s important to share your fuck ups and if so why?

I think in some ways the Australian mindset can be backwards. We lack a strong culture of risk takers and we don’t encourage our entrepreneurs and innovators to fuck up in order to succeed. I hear stories that in the US investors will turn entrepreneurs away if they haven’t yet experienced failure in some way. As entrepreneurs and founders we are taught to test and learn, pivot and iterate when something isn’t working, done is better than perfect, and failure is one step closer to success.

We want Australia to be an innovative, progressive and tech savvy country. We want Australia to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit and support our entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed. If we don’t encourage frank conversations about fuck ups we are holding ourselves back. Sharing our fucks up is important in fostering a culture of authenticity, empowering people to choose the path of entrepreneurship and supporting them with the tools and courage they need to turn ideas into reality and build healthy and sustainable enterprises.

Can you share with us a major fuck up you’ve had since starting your business dream?

I co-hosted a Fuck Up night at the One Roof co-working space in Sydney in December last year. We had over 100 attendees and 5 very high profile entrepreneurs who took the stage to share their most epic and humiliating business fuck ups. Most of the speakers were nervous to share such deep vulnerabilities and stories they have never shared with the public. We reassured the speakers there would be no media coverage of the event. The night was deemed a major success until three days later when an article was published online in the Sydney Morning Herald describing the event and quoting the speakers. Unfortunately the wording used to describe the night was rather negative and the speakers were mortified. We went into crisis management mode and were able to get the article taken down a couple of hours later (thankfully it was only available online). This left a very negative taste to the event. We are yet to host our next Fuck Up night but when we do we will definitely share our story of the irony of fucking up the fuck up night.

What did you learn from this experience and how does that now influence your actions?

From now on whenever I host an event of that nature I will absolutely ensure no media is present both in the invite and on the night.

It also taught me a lot about how I respond in crisis management situations. When shit hits the fan it is important to remain strategic and rationale so that the situation can be dealt with and then emotion can come into the picture. It taught me how important it is to keep yourself together and focused because the way you react influences the way others around you will react. It is an exceptional leadership quality to maintain calmness amongst what can seem like disaster. It also taught me that when you act quickly and rationally you can find a solution to any problem.

How do you stay positive when it all turns to shit?  Are there any resources that you leverage to keep your energy and headspace on path.

I turn to my mentors and the people I trust and respect most for advice and support. I have learnt that when I bottle up my emotions and keep my fears to myself I do myself a disservice. The more I can share and talk about my stresses out loud the better it is for me as a coping mechanism. This is a skill I have had to learn. I also think trying to find the humor in situations can bring a sense of ease and relief.

Other tools I use are writing down how I am feeling and, in particular, what I am grateful for. I use the Headspace meditation app at least 3 times a week to calm my headspace. Exercise is also an important part of my routine. I know when I exercise I feel like I can take on the world. It is hard to find the time when you are running a business and particularly in the early stages but I also know just how important it is.

What tips can you share with other female founders who feel set back and disheartened by the mistakes they have made in their business.

You are not alone! We all make mistakes. All the time. Just yesterday I gave a presentation that I felt was a really poor effort on my part. I was really disappointed in myself and I felt like I did a disservice to my brand and everything that I am passionate about. But we have to keep going. When you believe strongly in what you are doing and the cause you are working for you will have enough determination to keep going even when you want to give it all up. We learn so much from our mistakes. It is important to be in it and feel the mistake and then move forward. I think the most important point when you feel like you have made a mistake is to own it, acknowledge that something isn’t working, and then pivot to a new direction. We have to keep constantly pivoting. This is all part of the process of starting and growing a business. I applaud you for putting yourself out there! It is a challenging journey but an incredibly rewarding one too.

Website – melbourne.oneroofwomen.com


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