“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.”
There are those weeks…..
Those weeks with way too many walls and not enough doors.
Those weeks that you feel you are a case study for the statistical relevance of Murphy’s Law.
And you just want to cry and then throw a tantrum (or several) and then put on a bubble suit, change your name to Esmeralda, quit this whole ‘blaze your own path’, entrepreneurship crap and go attempt to be ‘normal’ like everyone else.
That was my week last week.
Those of you who have followed me at all know that I’m an eternal optimist, almost to a fault at times. So it really takes a lot for me to have one of ‘those’ weeks. And although they royally suck, and large objects might be thrown and tantrums might be had and lots of Eminem might be listened to during said tantrum having and object throwing; they really are a bit of a necessary evil.
Those ‘ick weeks help me reset, re-evaluate where I am, where I want to be, what’s working and what needs to be changed. And once I recover from the collateral damage I’m ready to get out there and kick ass again, but this time with a better perspective or reworked plan of action to help me be even ‘ass kickier’.
Last night while doing my traditional Sunday ‘Brain Pickings’ reading, I stumbled upon Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech to the 2012 graduating class of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. And I need to add that the fact that I found this speech at the end of a rough week and the beginning of one that is poised to be renaissance of my ass kicking spirit, is evidence that the law of attraction is a completely accurate principle.
So anyway, in it Gaiman focuses on 8 lessons that should make up the foundation of your personal and professional journey. You need to watch the speech and really absorb them all, but most focus on the ideas of discovering what you love, doing it passionately, and in some ways selfishly, and not being afraid to fail or make mistakes.
That’s the part I love the most. One thing I can say confidently about my professional career is that I’ve always been a risk taker. Of course, as I’ve gotten older and learned through my many, MANY mistakes, those risks have become smarter and more strategic, but they are risks all the same. I’ve put myself out there a million, zillion times and done so fully and completely, balls to the wall, without looking back.
This is really the only way I’ve ever known how to do things….all or nothing, but never halfway. This is also what I coach my clients to do. Be smart, but go all in. Sometimes having a ‘backup’ plan is the surest why to ensure you’ll fail. Afterall, nobody starts a race with the plan of only running half of it and turning back, why should you start a business or pursue a professional goal with that perspective? That just never resonated with me.
Of course this has also meant that I’ve become a ridiculously awesome failure. I’ve crashed and burned more often than not. Some crashes from which I’ve recovered quickly and resiliently and some which have caused me to go a bit Ricky Bobby for a while.
“Help me, Jesus! Help me, Jewish God! Help me, Allah! Help me, Tom Cruise! Tom Cruise, use your witchcraft to get the fire off me!”
But I learn from each one, pick myself up and head fearlessly and fiercely into my next adventure. More than anything, this ability is what has summed up my professional career and ANY success I have had has been a direct result of it.
The other day in an email exchange with my amazing friend and colleague Tori Deaux of Circus Serene about my current crowdfunding campaign for Call a Biz Hero, the business talk show I co-host with Nicole Fende, she so eloquently said:
“What I admire most about the whole Call A Biz Hero venture… is that you two are models for putting yourself out there and taking risks, pushing the limits, trying to break things and sometimes actually breaking them! Keep trying to break things. I’ll keep watching and taking notes”
And it dawned on me that if this alone was my legacy; fearlessly taking risks, ignoring the ‘box’ and convention, and trying to break the system when I saw a way to create something better….I would be content.
A long time ago I made a promise to myself that when I feared something I needed to evaluate why I feared it before deciding how I was going to respond to that fear. If the fear stemmed from the following two sources I would push through it:
1) Ignorance: Or simply not knowing or understanding some thing, some one or some situation. If this was the source of fear I’d do my research until I truly felt I knew enough to be able to evaluate if the fear was justified or not.
2) Worry of failure: Obviously for all of the reasons listed above.
That has been my guiding principle, and I’ve stuck to it rather religiously. In the end, it has never failed me, only helped me grow as a human, both professionally and personally.
So, if you made it this far, thank you. Sometimes I write for others, and sometimes I really write for myself and figure that if it somehow resonates with others as well, all the better. This post is definitely an example of the later. But my take away message is this:
You will fail. You will fail often. You will fail hard. And when you do, let me say to you in advance, congratu-freaking-lations! Failing means you are trying, failing means you are making an impact on the world and failing means that you are 100 million, zillion, ga-billion times closer to eventually stumbling on a way to succeed.