When’s the last time you failed big? Like epic fail?
You probably can’t remember the last time. Most likely because we tend to minimize our risk of failure. Especially big failures.
We feel big epic fails aren’t pretty. Epic fails are nasty, dirty things. But are they really?
In his book Untitled: Thoughts On The Creative Process (Great book, btw), Blaine Hogan shares this story-
I know all too well the painful reality of standing in front of something I’ve made, only to feel the sobering sting of awareness that comes from realizing the “thing” didn’t live up to the pitch.
This failure can be seen as an epic fail. We pitch, we promote, we hype. Only to see what we imagined fall flat on it’s face.
Epic. Failure. It’s all there.
And then Blaine goes on to ask this question-
So how do we avoid this in our creative endeavors?
I have to go in a different direction. While we shouldn’t actively go looking for epic failures, we shouldn’t be so scared to experience them either.
Epic fails teach us about life. Epic fails teach us about ourselves. Epic fails teach us about others.
Jeremy and Jason of Internet Business Mastery have talked about their epic fail. These internet business gurus launched products and their only buyer was their dad.
Apple had an epic fail with their Maps app. Imagine leading your users in the wrong direction. The Apple maps app didn’t live up to expectations. Tim Cook went so far as to apologize for their fail and recommend Apple users use other mapping programs.
Nintendo experienced their epic fail with the Virtual Boy. The Virtual Boy was to be the next step in immersive 3D gaming. Yet it was one of their biggest flops, being discontinued less than a year after it’s release. Ouch!
Epic fails are going to happen as you lead. Your vision for the future may be way off. A competitor may swoop in and steal your thunder. Or you may not be able to motivate your tribe.
It’s Not About The Epic Failure
You know failure is going to come. You’ll face it many times while leading. In the end, it’s not about the epic failure.
Instead, it’s about the rebound from the epic fail. What you do with what you’re given.
Pursue failure. Failure is success’s only launching pad. (The bigger the goof, the better!) – Tom Peters
After Jason and Jeremy’s epic fail, they picked themselves back up. They continued to make products people would be interested in.
Tim Cook took on the responsibility of Apple’s epic fail. He acknowledged their product was subpar and you shouldn’t use it at that time. They’re continuing their work to improve the app and make it suitable for use.
And Nintendo didn’t stop producing consoles after their Virtual Boy epic fail. Nope, not at all. They quickly killed their bad product and continued moving forward.
You see, it’s not about the epic fail. It’s in the way you react to the fail that determines whether or not you’ll succeed.
Don’t let failures, even epic ones, derail you from leading well. When you do fail, pick yourself back up, learn what you can, and continue leading well.