WOW! Thanks to everyone for sharing your spectacular failures these last few days. It seems the topic of failure is one that we all know intimately. It’s certainly reassuring to feel like we’re all in this together, isn’t it?
The Twitter feed (#failweek) has been buzzing all week as you guys posted replies on your blogs and tweeted about your failures as they occurred throughout the day. Amazing! I’m truly touched by the overwhelming response.
Today’s podcast episode is closely related to failure. It’s about the paralyzing effects of perfectionism.
But first, a little story…
Last August I hired a business coach to help me sort through my ideas and give me some direction. I decided to pay for coaching because I knew that if I invested some real money into my future, I would be infinitely more motivated to take action.
Among other things, I expressed my desire to start a podcast. Now, my coach was someone who had created his own successful podcast and was one hundred episodes deep. I asked him how he got started:
“My buddy and I went out, picked up a couple cheap microphones, turned on GarageBand and hit record. Our first few episodes were terrible, but we never would have gotten any better, had we waited.”
Admission: Perfectionism Held Me Back
As much as I wanted to create my own podcast, I was scared. It wasn’t like writing, which is something I’d been doing for years. Public speaking was an entirely different beast. I had no experience. In fact, it was a weakness of mine, something I’d struggled with my entire life.
So yes, I was scared to create a podcast. I wanted to wait. And you know what? I did wait.
I waited 4 months.
Watch the intro video on my sidebar. I created that when I launched Puttylike in September. Notice how I refer to myself as a “podcaster”? That’s because I thought I would be podcasting right out of the gate. That was my plan.
Before Intelligent Action Comes Action… Regular Old Action
Most people don’t ship anything out into the world because they’re afraid of not being perfect. Ironically, it’s by shipping something imperfect, that mastery is attained.
This is the main reason that so few people create extraordinary businesses or artistic masterpieces. Many people have innovative ideas, but few are willing to risk being wrong and failing publicly.
It’s not that the few who take action have special talents or are more intelligent than everybody else– they don’t, and they aren’t. They’re simply willing to fail. That’s how they get good. And you know what? it’s the only way to get good.
Do Only What You Need to Get Started and then START
Sometimes you need some guidance or initial information before you even know how to begin a new pursuit. So yes, get your logistics in place and learn a little. But learn just the bare minimum and then jump in. Don’t wait. You’re ready now.
And then yeah, you might look stupid for a while. But so what? Embrace your incompetence and be proud that you’re one of the few willing to be imperfect. That takes guts.
And hey, check out the “failures” who shared their stories in Monday’s post! You’re in very fine company, if I may say so myself.
In Today’s Episode of Undeclared for Life…
Ever been afraid to start something new? Terrified of looking stupid or falling on your face? Um yeah… Em and Abe share 4 killer principles to keep in mind when embarking on a new, daunting pursuit. They also share some of their own spectacular failures, including Abe’s very public moment of humiliation while reaching out to his hero Seth Godin.
Listen to the Episode
Stuff Mentioned in the Episode
- Sensophy: “Suck Your Way to Success“
- Seth Godin’s #pokethebox Twitter chat transcript (look for @AHAbraham’s tweets to see Abe’s big foible and subsequent moment of redemption)
Got any more tips for overcoming perfectionism and getting started?
And have you shared your spectacular failure yet? If not, take this opportunity to allow yourself to be imperfect with the rest of us! Don’t worry, you’re among friends. We’re all failures here. :)