choosing to be – or – staring down failure with an ace in my back pocket

This post originally ran in May 2011.

Tenacity by Gwyn Michael

If you haven’t noticed, I am a Seth Godin fan, and again I will refer to him. Seth writes a lot about failure and why it’s good because it means we are trying things, we are “poking the box.” I agree, but it is easier to get behind when you are not in the final stages of what could be a big fail.

Seth has this to say about failure:

The math is magical: you can pile up lots of failures and still keep rolling, but you only need one juicy success to build a career.

The killer is the category called ‘neither’. If you spend your days avoiding failure by doing not much worth criticizing, you’ll never have a shot at success. Avoiding the thing that’s easy to survive keeps you from encountering the very thing you’re after.

And yet we market and work and connect and create as if just one failure might be the end of us.

Aha! I have been doing exactly that, looking at this project as if this one failure could be the end of me. Truth is I already have two new project ideas, most likely better ones.

I have never been much of a sports fan but I am gaining a new respect for athletes. Even with a big paycheck coming it has to be hard to get back out there for the last inning, quarter, whatever when you are losing badly. But they do it, again and again.

It ain’t over ’til it’s over. ~ Yogi Berra

Never have I understood that better. We work hard as entrepreneurs, often alone.

On Friday after a bit of a meltdown I got back in the game and made some changes, one of them being to back away from the work. I was running myself ragged trying and getting nowhere. After a good break I came back and gave the project a makeover. I gave myself time to look at what may not be working and change it. I came up with some new strategies to reach people. I reached out and got some great advice from friends.

Too little too late? We shall see, but I am in til the end whatever the outcome and it kind of sucks, but I can’t say I regret it and I can’t say I won’t try again.

I choose to be.

This week I am not giving much to link to or respond to but I’d like you to answer this:

When the chips are down, what gets you back in the game?

What gives you the tenacity to find the crack in the concrete and grow?

What makes you choose to be?

3 thoughts on “choosing to be – or – staring down failure with an ace in my back pocket

  1. Thanks for this post, it helped me get a bit unstuck with my own post (and video) about failure that I was working on today. I had publicly announced a morning routine challenge on my blog but then failed to achieve it and didn’t know how to write about that. But it was important to be honest and not pretend I had achieved it!

    I guess being honest, accepting your failure but not quitting is the key.

  2. My biggest inspiration is the thought of having to return to a cubicle. I would fight tooth and nail to never have to set foot in a cubicle again. Whenever I’m feeling aimless about my work, I remember the original goal (to build an independent career as an artist) and why I’m doing it (freedom from a corporate life) and I suddenly find myself brimming with energy and drive. Thanks for this very interesting post!

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