FAILING FORWARD: IT’S BETTER TO START4 min read
Idon’t know about you, but I have the worst time starting things. For example, this post. It’s given me so much anxiety just thinking about it. I didn’t know how I was going to write it, and I didn’t know if it was going to be helpful or make sense because it sure didn’t when I started.
If you’re like me then you’re a bit of a perfectionist. You want the thing you are working on to be pristine. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that, nothing is ever going to be perfect, because what’s perfect for you is not perfect for someone else. It’s that whole perspective and life being arbitrary thing.
So I’ve decided to shift my mindset to this idea called Failing Forward. Which leads me to this post. It’s a little odd, especially for a #perfectionist, but the premise is that in order to move forward you need to fail, often. It’s like Facebook’s mantra, except this time for entrepreneurs and writers.
Through the last year this idea has become my core: to get started, get the ball rolling, worry less about perfection and focus more on getting shit done #GSD.
It’s difficult to put yourself out there. Starting a project, or writing something feels like a daunting task at the very least, and can feel a lot like dating. It’s nearly impossible. Well, at least I feel that way. But like any date, or any project, you have to take the leap of faith and be vulnerable. Will you be ridiculed? Yes. Will people say no? Definitely. Will you be stood up? Of course. But this is going to happen whether you start today, or you wait a year, so you may as well start failing. Welcome to the writing/dating/getting started with whatever you’re working on game.
It’s okay to fail
It’s okay to fail. Let’s repeat that for the third time, it’s okay to fail. That’s how we learn. And if you’re afraid to fail then you should know that it’s okay to be afraid, skeptical or worried. These are all perfectly normal reactions and behaviors for something that you are about to do. We are all human after all. Aim for perfect and be okay if the ball falls a little short, or ask for some assistance. There’s a community of people willing to help.
Here are some resources that I’ve used and feel safe:
Ask for help
I’ve found that people are very receptive and like to be included. As humans, I think we can all agree that we like to be heard. It’s not the greatest feeling in the world when someone doesn’t acknowledge your existence or remember you’re a living, breathing, person.
I go out of my way to have a conversation with everyone I meet. I’m a bit slutty that way. And I try to really listen, which is really hard for me with that whole ADHD thing. You never know who you are going to meet and who knows, they may provide some great insight and even want to help with your project.
You’d be shocked at how many people have helped us over the last year by just asking, we’re publishing a book all because we asked someone for a referral. This stuff really works.
You’ve gotten started. You feel good about what you are doing, and acknowledge that you’re going to fail and that’s okay. It’s remarkable how relieved you feel by removing the power that failure has over you. Now it’s go time. It’s time to Get Shit Done. Period. Exclamation point! Build a plan, put everything that you think your project is going to require on paper or in a tool like Trello and get going.
Don’t worry it gets better
Since you’ve started, you’re going to learn some new things. Things that you haven’t thought of before. Your first reaction is, wow, how did I not think of that, I’m stupid, but it’s ok because you are not. You’re going to think it’s because you suck, but no, that’s not true either. You’re just learning and getting better along the way. And guess what? Next time, you won’t make the same mistake.
P.S. “You don’t have to be great to start, but you do have to start in order to be great.” – Zig Ziglar