Do me a favor. For a moment, think of the things you are most afraid of… in life, in work, or in love. If you’re anything like me, the list is mainly comprised of elements that boil down to one of four things: fear of failure, fear of regret, fear of death, and fear of talking sandwiches.
(Can it see through those pimientos?! *shudder*)
For now, let’s focus on that first one—fear of failure, which includes but is not limited to failure to do things really well and ON TIME. The combination goes a long way to explaining the constant state of progress-anxiety many creatives can fall victim to: “What do I need to get done today? That seems like a lot. Oh snap, I haven’t gotten anything done! How can I get more done tomorrow? Is that a talking sandwich?!?!” So on and so forth.
Unfortunately, this fear of failure leaves little space for exploration or experimentation, let alone, the emotional capacity for failure. What’s a sentient-sandwich-fearing person to do?
Counterintuitively, you should both embrace and carve out time for failure. Copious failure. Glorious failure. Because ironically, all paths to success go through failure. It’s just math; if you make more attempts, you’ll fail more, but you’ll also succeed more simply because you’ve made so many more attempts and learned from those attempts.
So, temporarily set aside your expectations of what needs to resurface on the other end of that rectangle on your Google Calendar. Create a comfortable, inner-monologue-judgement-free space. And allow your mind to wander, explore, and utterly and completely fail.
Try more designs. Write more scripts. Build more storyboards. Look at targeting or budget or brand identity problems from an angle you’ve previously dismissed out of hand. Fail fast and fail furiously. And then move on to that fear of talking sandwiches. That one’s a doozy.
Have a failure-filled weekend, everybody!
– Your now-hungry-for-a-ham-sandwich-with-pimientos friends at Brokaw.