What’s Your Relationship to Failure?
The other night I was watching an interview with comedian and screenwriter Tina Fey.
She was talking about the highs and lows of her career, the missteps and the slip-ups and then she said started telling a story about her early days in stand-up comedy.
She was recalling the multiple times that she performed a set, only to leave the stage in complete misery.
No laughs, no engagement from the crowd — hardly any giggles of pity.
And then she said this:
“Everyone should experience the feeling of bombing.”
I sat with that for a minute, and I started to think about my own experiences of failure.
Like the time I spoke at Eco Fashion Week in 2013 and could barely get the words out of my mouth.
Or the time I tried working for someone else and got fired three months in.
Or the myriad other times I didn’t land the internship or the fellowship or get into my dream school.
Everyone should experience the feeling of bombing.
Because the highs will never feel as high as the lows feel low.
Tina Fey is a New York Times bestselling author, she has a net worth of $45 million, she’s won 9 Emmy Awards, 3 Golden Globe Awards, 5 SAG Awards and the list goes on.
Do you know how she got there?
By failing time and time again… and not letting it stop her.
It’s a cliche story, right?
Everyone loves the hero’s journey and I’m sure you can recount a dozen other failure to success, rags to riches stories of celebrities and athletes.
But what about your own?
As an entrepreneur, regardless of whether you’re established or aspiring, what is your relationship to failure?
Because I can tell you this:
To thrive in this industry and for your business to survive, you have to be okay with mistakes, mishaps, discomfort, frustration and yes, failure.
The only other alternative is fear.
And do you know what fear of failure does?
- It stifles creativity.
- It promotes procrastination.
- It feeds into victim mentality.
- And it holds you back from your true potential.
And I don’t think that’s a world that any of us want to live in.
So, the next time you’re tempted to hit the panic button before you can experience the feeling of bombing, I want you to pick one of these Tina Fey originals and hold onto it:
“It will never be perfect, but perfect is overrated. Perfect is boring.”
“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”
Or, my personal favorite:
“Confidence is 10% hard work and 90% delusion.”