My most prolific failure

I was thinking recently how much I admire people with the ability to fail. Even more so if they actually fail alot.

Why? Well, it essentially means they are TRYING. Many people who are ashamed to fail are doomed to mediocrity because they never get out there and try anything new. They don’t put their work out there to be judged. They don’t try new things. In development parlance, they never SHIP! They are safe in the cocoon of mediocrity because they are scared that someone may judge them or ridicule their work.

In my life, I endeavor to create something wonderful. I want to create art. To create. To ship!

“Real artists ship!” – Steve Jobs

To that end, I have indeed “broken some eggs”. I have had some doosies in my career, but those failures don’t prove that I’m a failure (as Seth Godin puts it) they prove that I’m an artist! They prove that I have cared enough about my life, my craft, and the lives of people I work with to try something new. To ship and expect something brilliant, even though I’m unsure of the outcome.

My inclination is to follow the advice of Godin and stop writing resumes (or using LinkedIn). There is more downside than up. But I am drawn to one last attempt to make my resume (or profile) meaningful to people who read it. I want to add my most “prolific” failure to each of my jobs and what it taught me about myself and my career.

If those failures discourage those reading it, I guarantee I wouldn’t have worked for them anyway.

2 thoughts on “My most prolific failure

  1. Pingback: Jason Montague
  2. I agree. When trying something new, the most important thing is to find out if you “failed” fast so that you can learn something quickly and try again or move on without some significant cost meaning capital, effort or humility.
    I think that people use the verb fail in different ways. One definition of fail is to be unsuccessful. I believe what you are implying is that you learn something from your failures which makes me wonder if you were really unsuccessful. It all depends on your success criteria. I sometimes like to use “fall short” in place of “fail”. The idea is that you created stretch or lofty goals that you did not quite reach but something of value was gained. In my experience most failures are really just falling short of some goal and that something of value was learned or even delivered when talking about software development. This is of course semantics but I think some organizations claim they don’t tolerate failure but will actually embrace stretch goals and falling short as long as the stakeholders understand and appreciate that they got something out of the experience.

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