For the past few weeks I have furtively been watching Mary Queen of Shops on BBC2, pretending I'm looking for Panorama. The format is Mary Portas - some bossy fashion retail woman - goes into struggling businesses and advises them on what they should do differently / better.
Every week, every single bloody week, it makes me cry. Wet salty man tears, all over my raspberry sorbet sticks*. This isn't Panorama! I protest. My TV is broken!
It's something about the knot the shop owners are in. They've had the guts to get out there and start a business and slowly, slowly, that business is choking. And always the reason is that the owner can't see how their ideas need to change. Instead, as panic sets in they stick even more rigidly to those ideas.
How easy it is to look and ridicule - what is she thinking - selling china shoes?! But you can see the struggle taking place. You recognise how painful it is for the owner, to dismantle their world view bit by bit, whilst others look on. They feel stupid and wrong and almost always try to save face.
They are left with an unpleasant choice. Either change or try to hide from those painful feelings. Most (not all) decide to change, inch by inch, but it is terrible and moving to watch.
And that's when the tears start, for me. Because I see the grace and the courage and the humility needed to stare life in the face, to fail, and then to try once more.
* current weekday indulgence - only 85 calories! *Pulls self together* Now, who wants an arm wrestle?