May 26, 11:46 AM
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a failure. I miss the mark personally and professionally every day. The tyranny of the urgent hijacks my To Do list. Auditions I spend time carefully preparing and recording are passed over and sometimes not even listened to. Calls made to potential clients are met with icy responses. I’ve foolishly spent time looking at my smart phone and allowed precious memories to fly by. I catch myself worrying about what might happen instead of savoring the moment that is happening. I fail to let my anchor down.
Inevitably, setting high expectations means we might not meet them. Yet, how can we hope to succeed if we’re not willing to fail?
Failing is good. Failing is certain. Failing helps us see where we can improve. In fact, I discovered my voiceover niche this way. My voice, personality and season of life makes me better suited for some genres of voice over work than others. I’ve learned to turn projects down.
Success is sweet but failing up teaches us more. Falling flat, not so much.
Staying stuck in a rut, giving up or shying away from learning from our failures is a good way to fall flat. Failing up, however, offers at least three productive choices; assessing our strengths and weaknesses, changing directions or beginning again.
Assessing Strengths and Weaknesses
In freelance, we have the option of learning by trial and error or working with someone more experienced who can objectively administer constructive criticism and advice. Partnering with a voiceover coach has helped me in many ways. I’ve been encouraged in what I do best and put through my paces with what needs improvement. I feel like Stretch Armstrong afterwards but my performance is always better for it.
What we think might work in the beginning sometimes needs to be changed. I wrote about this in an earlier blog entry. I thought my sky was falling but it was actually opening up.
There was a day when Instagram, Twitter, PayPal and Groupon were startups. Each came to a place where they had to pivot in order to survive. They found success by changing direction.
So, where are you on the road called Failure? Watching from the stands or struggling in the arena? Failing up or falling flat?
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt