Learning by failing: The 2014 imperfectionista highlights


Wrapping up 2014, it has been a challenging year, and as always I’ve made more than a few blunders along the way. Some professionally, other on a more personal level.

Some years ago, we organised a seminar with Tor Olav Trøim in YoungShip Oslo. Surprisingly to some, he chose the angle “learning by failing” to share his experiences from the John Fredriksen group.

In the maritime industry, we often talk about the severe risk of human errors. That makes sense, as the environment, human lives and massive assets are at stake whenever something goes wrong. At the same time, most of us acknowledge the fact that mistakes and errors will be made, and they can actually be useful and constructive; its just a question of how often they occur, and how willing and capable we are to learn from them. The latter defines us as individuals.

In order to learn, we must be aware of cause and effect. And of the blunder, which in my case can be exemplified with my very own Top Lows & Blunders 2014 list. Note that it’s in no way complete, and in completely random sequence in terms of impact.

1) Getting involved in new business without exercising sufficient due diligence and aligning the core value & code of conduct fundament among key persons involved (extremely important when you’re all about 100% ethical and transparent business). A real reminder, which I´ll hopefully never commit again(!)

2) Still talking twice as much as I listen. Which is a result of my being a “quite” engaged and enthusiastic person, but nevertheless I actually risk killing other people´s enthusiasm. And which at home tends to make my partner feel that he never gets through… *blushing*

3) Patience is a virtue… Unfortunately, its a virtue I possess very small portions of. And with 2 small kids mixed with a variety of projects/roles, its too often not enough of it saved for important discussions with my partner.

4) Forgetting how important a smile and a humble attitude is for getting a message across: Usually, when I give my presentations and challenge the industry seniors, I always prepare them first – by stating that I truly feel humble among such a crowd of competent and experienced people, but that nevertheless I will still try to challenge and provoke them a bit, and try to stir up some good discussions. However, as I visited the InterManager Ship Management & Shipowning Summit in Singapore back in October, my post-birth brain actually chose to cut this part. Meaning that I went directly into shooting from the hip without warning the audience first. I still got good feedback from a number of people, but unfortunately came across as a bit of a besser-wisser and made a very respected senior furious. I felt so ashamed afterwards!

5) Failing to follow my gut-feeling. I always go by it, but during an important and path-changing process this year, I didn´t. As a result, I didn´t consult a person I set very high, and ended up hurting that person´s feelings. Shame on me, and a huge lesson learnt.

6) Not being the bigger person. Yupp, I try. But I let self pitty, lack of self control and tons of stubbornness get the better of me way too often. In theory I would love to be the type of person who knows to choose my battles, but those who are close to me (especially the closest one) experience that I get carried away over stupid details.

7) Testing the single mom experience for a while, as we separated for most of the first half year. A tough decision, especially as we were expecting baby number two at the same time. Fortunately, through a lot of hard work and probably some luck, we managed to patch things up. Still hard work and not all silver linings though.

8) Acting like a 5 year old in front of my (soon) 2 year old….

9) Acting like a 5 year old in front of my 35 year old…

10) Experiencing a deep sorrow of losing some of the fantastic relationship I´ve had with my oldest son after returning from maternity leave and after the arrival of the little brother. I knew it was likely to happen, and I knew it would be both natural tough. And I knew it is necessary due to the small age difference between the 2 guys. But after several months, it still feels terrible to be rejected and to not be the no. 1 person for him.. And it feels even worse whenever he is clingy or demanding, and I can´t give him the alone time that he needs, as I have a small baby stuck to my chest.

11) Lack of sleep. Causing lack of sanity at times.

Not to sound completely negative, I have also experienced some fantastic and surprising stuff the past year. But I think that the highs wouldn´t feel as good if I didn´t experience some low points. The lows keep my feet on the ground and triggers humbleness.

Highlights of 2014:

  1. Bringing little Erik into this world, getting him out of the newborn intensive care, and getting to know him. The first smiles and giggles, the very first milestones on discovering his personality. Sleeping in uncomfortable positions, e.g. with him sleeping on my chest to cure tummy ache, or with my arm in a completely twisted angle.
  2. Experiencing Knut developing from baby to a reflecting, curious and fantastic little boy who makes me laugh several times every day. And who makes me see the world´s small everyday wonders in a whole new way, through his eyes. Soaking the entire bathroom before our jumping in bed-routine, followed by night-time stories from a book or from my head. His little hands holding my ears as he finds his sleep.
  3. Moving back in with my partner and working hard to make it work, both of us still hanging in there
  4. Getting an even closer relationship with my younger siblings, and with my youngest aunt
  5. Travels to Italy, Singapore, UK, Cyprus and the Emirates, meeting old friends and new ones
  6. Facing new opportunities and grasping them even though it scares the shit out of me
  7. Youngest person on “Women in the Wind” list of business magazine Kapital, and first-time interview on prime-time national TV
  8. First paid presentation outside of my own industry, talking about leadership and innovation
  9. At the end of the year, starting to patch up the difficult relationship to my mother
  10. Seeing that the family companies are in a good recovery mode, after some rough “cleaning” years since taking over when my father passed away

Also, I gained some pounds and cellulite, added a few more lines, counted my first gray hairs, and become less fit than ever before. None of my old jeans fit me anymore. I eat way too much sweets and I don´t get enough sleep. I still bite my nails, and almost never put on any make up. And its quite okay. My body has been doing a great job this year, we are all healthy so far (knock wood) and I have some fun with my family every day. I get to use my brain on things that add value and meaning to my life. For a person like me, I guess there will always be huge ups and downs. It seems that I´ll never just float in a neutral state. And that´s fine, at least I never need to worry about getting bored 😉

Happy New Year to all!

Cheers from the quirky one..

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