Over the last few months, I’ve been doing a series of calls for the Artists Marketing & Business Academy based on Christopher Howard’s Assumptions for Empowered Leadership. For this edition of the Words to the Wise Newsletter, I’m focusing on Assumption #9:
“Only feedback – no failure; therefore utilize everything”
No Failure – Only Feedback
- The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short
- The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends
What is interesting to me about the above definitions is that they are stated as a fait accompli. Done. Finished. But when I hear people describe themselves as failures I have to ask – are you done? Are you finished? Because if you’re not – you’re not yet a failure! You’ve merely tried something in pursuit of your goal that didn’t work, or didn’t work as well as you’d hoped.
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
So, instead of using this experience to define yourself (I am a failure) – what if this result is merely feedback?
- A reaction or response to a particular process or activity.
- Evaluative information derived from such a reaction or response.
I love using these definitions for failure! What if this negative outcome (previously defined as a failure) could be viewed as a reaction or response to a particular process or activity and you could derive evaluative information from this outcome?
Failure vs. Feedback
In my experience, when you define yourself as a failure – you stop. When you define your experience as feedback, then this negative outcome becomes merely one step on your path to success.
So, for example, you went to an audition and didn’t get it; or you asked for a booking from a venue and were turned down; or you submitted a song to TAXI and got returned; or you tried out for American Idol and got slammed by Simon; or any other circumstance that ends in a “NO” response. And you notice that you’re looking at these circumstances and saying to yourself – I’m a failure.
What if you looked at that experience and said instead – “This is interesting feedback. Wonder how I can utilize this? What can I learn? How can I improve? What do I try next? Am I done testing this method – or should I test it some more?”
- How would you feel from that perspective?
- What steps would you take from that place?
- How is that different from what you’re doing presently?
I look forward to hearing how this shifts things for you?
* Definitions from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language