The other day I tweeted, “I work with smart, passionate people.” That tweet was inspired by a call with my senior team in which I barely needed to speak: they were all well aware of the challenges we face, and their proposed solutions were thoughtful and creative.
But the smarts & passion in the organization are not limited to the top dogs. Witness this email, posted with permission of the author, who is one of our account managers in San Francisco. Her team had been running hard for a few weeks and this was her late-night pep talk… It inspired me, maybe even more than it inspired her team…
Team, I admit it: I’m a hot mess of fail, proudly sporting a scarlet “F” every day of the week (it ain’t just weekend attire, gang). I fail on a weekly basis, and work at an agency that has birthed some of the most impressive fails I’ve ever seen. Bear with me – this is a good thing. These failures are a point of pride.
We’ve all heard the saying, “If you haven’t failed, you haven’t tried.” It’s cliché as all heck, and it isn’t true. If you haven’t failed, you haven’t lived (equally cliché, but it has more of an edge). You haven’t crashed and burned mid-pitch while chatting with a reporter, put in a forgettable performance during a new business meeting, had an idea shot down by a client or royally mismanaged a team situation.
There’s truly nothing better than the sting of a belly flop. You learn faster, think smarter, become more critical of your own work and trust your gut more. The sting stays with you like a bad lower back tattoo – it’s always there, a reminder of past missteps.
I was recently chatting with another PR gal and she asked me about the one client campaign I’m most proud of. Rather than rattle off every shiny client case study I could think of, I told her about the time I worked on a project for a big-name client that had truly lackluster results (a few of you bore witness to said failure). It wasn’t an epic, tsunami-inducing flop, but one that struck a nerve and has since shaped the way I approach work day-in, day-out. I learned more from that one fail than I did in four years of college (and I actually went to class).
Considering I’ve got a lot more to learn, I figure I can stand to fail a few more times, dust my knees off and try again – and from what I’ve seen none of you have reached your full fail potential. We’ve all got big footsteps to follow in:
Abraham Lincoln’s “Failure” List
• Lost job in 1832
• Defeated for state legislature in 1832
• Failed in business in 1833
• Elected to state legislature in 1834
• Sweetheart died in 1835
• Had nervous breakdown in 1836
• Defeated for Speaker in 1838
• Defeated for nomination for Congress in 1843
• Elected to Congress in 1846
• Lost renomination in 1848
• Rejected for land officer in 1849
• Defeated for U.S. Senate in 1854
• Defeated for nomination for Vice President in 1856
• Again defeated for U.S. Senate in 1858
• Elected President in 1860
Any proud fails you’d like to confess to?
Posted on: February 27, 2011 at 9:11 am By Todd Defren