I’m afraid of failing. Or I’m afraid I’ll do all that work and it will fail.
So let’s look at REAL points of failure and what they mean:
FEAR OF FAILURE: Since we were all very little we have been taught to FEAR this thing called failure. But if we are constantly in the process of asking “What else could this mean? Or what have I actually learned, than no failure has been achieved!
a. Remember Failure is just an occurrence, NOT a destination. No one PLANS to fail, nor do they even WANT to fail. But maybe we spend SO much time focused on NOT failing that we run into THAT wall instead!
b. If you allow yourself to KNOW that you CAN fail, then guess what? Failure WILL be the outcome. Don’t even make that an acceptable outcome. Have you ever seen those folks who start to “cushion themselves for the fall before the project is even ½ over?” Don’t those folks just make you REALLY angry? Instead of contributing to moving something forward they have already accepted failure as an outcome and determined that, they will make sure that THEY are blameless! Hey not only have a fear of failure, but a fear of WINNING as well!
c. Always remember that Failures, when they DO happen are ALWAYS the precursors to success. Look at ANY great inventor through the ages. Thomas Edison himself said it best” I did NOT fail to create a light bulb 1000 times, instead I just found 999 ways NOT to build a good light bulb!
d. Risk is ALL about getting in the FIGHT! If you don’t get a black eye every now and then, maybe it’s a ‘course correction’ from the boss, and then you’re not REALLY in the fight! If you are IN the day to day development of an idea, you WILL get dirty, and when you get dirty you WILL find someone who does NOT agree with your ideas. That is NOT a failure, just ANOTHER way of looking at something OTHER than the way YOU are used to! Cherish those ideas, even if you don’t get the credit, you are part of the process and it will rub off on you in a way that YOU can use someday.
maybe you chose THIS as your excuse?
“I don’t know where to start.” Really?
You’re an author, or you want to be or you think you can be, start where the story starts, you know THE BEGINNING! This is not to say that this is where my books start, as a matter of fact I am your 11th grade English teachers nightmare. I hate outlining, note cards and rough drafts, as far as I’m concerened they are all a waste of time, and every moment spent on those ridiculous tasks is more time that you cant spend doing something more productive. Like sleep.
Really. Sleep is very important, and when I say sleep, at my current age, I do mean sleep, however if you are younger than I am or in better physical health than I am, than you probably mean any one of a dozen other activities that are ever so enjoyable in bed. But for those details you’ll have to go look under Adult Fantasy, next to leather goods. But on a more serious note. Here are a few suggestions on where to start:
At the beginning. I know rather obvious isn’t it, but sometimes the most obvious is the best place. But not everyone is a serial writer, you know someone who writes from beginning to end adding in all the middle parts as you go. I know for me, I often see the big climactic scene of an issue and work backwards from there.
Maybe start with the Table of contents. Personally I like that idea, because then I write the TOC. I can go back and write in a few descriptive sentences. Then go back and make some paragraphs and before you know it I’m calling my editor yelling DON’T CUT A THING! Yes I know that sounds an awful lot like writing and working from an outline, but really its nothing like that at all. After all if you had turned in an outline with a forword and a conclusion in it to Mrs Bobsled your 3rd grade social studies teacher she would have laughed herself silly. But it can work.
But if it doesn’t you are welcome to try my method of developing the big climax for your story and fleshing that out and then working backwards. The tric here is remembering that youre not trying to work back all the way to the beginning, but just to the point where it would make sense for them to be in THAT situation. Like say the heroe is in the power plant with 90 seconds before it explodes, how did he get there? Car, airplane, city bus? Maybe he made a HALO Jump off the evil Dr. Deaths orbiting satellite platform after having disabled the laser guided sharks. Hey that’s pretty good, anyone writing this stuff down?
The point is this, if you’re following my system you know your have already committed an hour of your time to writing today, lets make it worthwhile. If you cant imagine a dramatic conclusion, maybe you just need to write about some of your characters and flesh them out a little. Family, background, schooling, unrequited love is always a GREAT motivator. Of anything FOR Anything. Try it you’ll like it, I promise.
Still havent hit it? Try back next time…..
Until then keep on writing and absolutely keep on reading!
You want to aggravate e to DEATH? Ask me for advice, USE my time to get it, then DONT TAKE IT!
And I dont really hide this fact….so WHY would people come to me to learn to write a book, and get exactly how they can write a book…and then DONT WRITE THE BOOK
Well some folks have a reason that has some validity to it, all the rest, well Ive boiled it down to the following…
The most generic reason is this…
But it’s too hard……Umm yes, life can be hard, however I am quite sure that if you are sentient being of average intelligence or above, you not only CAN write a book, but you also probably have at least one pretty darned good story rattling around up there. As a matter of fact even a few of you with below average intelligence may have some more interesting story ideas, we may just need to watch a little closer during the EDITING process. But hard? Well, maybe,.,
However, as I suggest in my other column “Pick an excuse ANY EXCUSE, just stick with it!” You do not want to be a quitter. So I’m going to toss out a few of the most common complaints I get, usually when folks get stuck, somewhere between the foreword and the introduction, and want a really valid reason for quitting. By the way, before we get too far, there aint one.
There are others and in the following weeks I hope to lay them out and destroy them for you, so you dont EVER have to worry about them again!
Keep reading, and PLEASE keep on writing…
– Lack of PASSION–
This is the saddest symptom of all, when you have workers who have just LOST (or worse, never HAD) a sense of passion for what they do. Admittedly we are not ALL doing the work that we dreamed of doing when we were younger. Even if we have the title we always thought we wanted, chances are that there is many times where nothing is happening, and it’s during those times that we may forget the DRIVING REASON, our passion, for what we’re doing!
Without passion and the excitement and the energy that they create it is VERY difficult to be successful. You almost find yourself in a cyclical issue. You feel like you’re tired all the time, therefore its hard to get excited about what your doing at work, therefore you turn in mediocre performances, which yields little if ANY accolades from your superiors, which seems to make the entire process so much more worthless of the time and energy you DO have and invest into the issue or projects. So you are assigned smaller and less important projects until you can “prove yourself” which further sucks at your self esteem, and it just starts to spiral downward from there.
Passion is what makes the work LESS work and more fun. When work becomes work then you start to dread your situation, you start looking around for a better situation, perhaps another assignment in the same company, perhaps even in another company. The only REAL challenge there is let’s say you FIND a “better” job. Unless you develop dome REAL drive and passion for the assignments that you are going to be receiving at this posting you’re going to wake up one day in the exact same situation, then you start to develop the feeling that its all just one thing after another, when in reality the truth is, you can change jobs all you want, the face that stares back at you in the mirror every morning is what’s going to determine if you have fun that day. That face staring back will either have a GREAT day or “just another day”. So you find yourself in this situation, maybe you call it a rut! – You know a rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out – NOW what do you do?
as a wise man once said—-LIVE WITH PASSION!
Naïve Sense of Entitlement. We are watching an ENTIRE generation grow up with EXACTLY this. We are watching a generation of children, raising children. These are people who were NOT out of mom’s house and yet found themselves pregnant, and now they have to raise a child when they don’t know how to care for themselves. Worse yet, NOW they are being forced to care for a child. Unfortunately in many of those situations the grandparents end up doing the raising, so just about the time THEY are at the point in their life where they were going to relax, perhaps retire, they now have a child to raise. But at 60, they are just TOO tired to try and discipline a 2 year old the way they should and a 12 year old. So rather than discipline they give in, and whatever keeps the baby quiet! That’s how the baby then child and THEN teenager, develops the sense that the world OWES them, that’s how they were raised!
One of the BIGGEST obstacles to your own success is thinking that you deserve something without having to put in the work. That’s not how our world works; everyone tries to buy at wholesale and sell at retail, including your employers. They will pay you just enough so that you’re not going to leave and go somewhere else. Then they will take your work and mark it up to the point that THEY can make a retail profit from it. The BEST way they can do that is to find your best “profit point” that’s the point where you produce the BEST quality and highest quantity of work, for the least amount of money. In doing THAT I can guarantee you that they are not going to GIVE you anything, and if you go to an employer with an attitude of expectancy, there are about 2 dozen OTHER folks in line who would LOVE to have the job you have. Although they may not have the advantages you do, they don’t’ whine either,
a. BUT let’s say that you have actually completed college and there you are all bright and shiny with your Bachelors in Math, English or what have you, just WAITING for the world to open up and reveal its secrets to you! Get in line! There are 10,000 OTHER students this year, with your same qualifications, some with better GPA’s, and many of THEM have some other skill that you DON’T have. So what is it that sets you apart? When I was in school an AA was a MINIMUM, and even THAT didn’t get listed on your resume unless it was followed by 10 years of experience or a REALLY good BA from a noted school! What is it that’s going to set you apart? What is the difference that’s going to make you different? If you tell me it’s your Tattoos or your piercing you are TRULY preaching to the WRONG generation. The ONLY generation that’s impressed by that is YOURS, and even THEY will wonder where you got the money from, so the one thing YOU need that’s going to set you apart is:
b. TALENT. Yes that’s right, regardless of what you studied or how hard you studied it, if you can’t demonstrate THAT skill along with at least TWO others while simultaneously preparing a Visio presentation that I can show my Senior Level Managers, then I won’t even notice! But surely you have SOMETHING that could be considered a talent? No, playing HALO for 36 hours straight while subsisting on nothing but Cheetos isn’t going to do it! Unless you can re-wrap that into a situation where you were intently focused on a single project for over 30 hours and took minimal personal time off so that you could meet your deadlines! Now THAT’S impressive, and it shows perseverance, focus and most of all some talent! But make sure that your electives read better than most folks. ”Advanced Underwater Basket Weaving and how it pertains to the expanding Global Markets for hand crafted goods.” Is PROBABLY not going to get much farther than the HR guy interviewing you.
c. So if having a sense of entitlement is bad what should your expectations be? Perhaps it’s the one thing that should have leapt out at you by now, and that is that Most Successful people have a genuine sense of humility and appreciation for their OPPORTUNITIES! Even if those opportunities are self created. Look at Tony Hawk, everyone considered him a skater punk who would end up in jail or the ER, and instead he is the CAPTAIN of an entire sporting industry that didn’t even EXIST 20 years ago. He saw a hole in a market he was interested in and determined that HE would be the one to fill it! Ladies you have an even BIGGER opportunity, most women will gravitate from one product to another, merely at the mention by a friend, so that creates TWO opportunities: First how do YOU get ahead of that next production curve? Secondly what’s the REAL need that is causing this migration? Do women change purses as often as they change socks, because the NEED a different color, or is there something about their current model that does NOT allow it to be used in more that one event in a day? That’s just one example, there are hundreds if not THOUSANDS of others that are WAITING to be discovered, that YOU should be grateful for! I have a VERY good friend who has supported her family by doing TWO things for the past 15 years. #1 she has constantly watched what the 20-30 year old women are doing and looking for holes that can be filled in THEIR day to day experience. Whether it was buying/selling beanie Babies or creating custom “family art flagstones” for rock gardens. The second thing she has ALWAYS done right is to recognize when an industry has started to go stale. That’s when she starts gearing up for her NEXT product line, not doing AWAY with her current line, but shifting the focus, slowly but surely towards the NEW line, and making sure to take the current customer lists, customers who TRUST her, with her to the new product line!
We have identified what some of the most common frailties are that will help steer a team member down the path to unemployment, but I still don’t believe that we have hit on the number one reason why it appears that one entire generation of Americans appears to fall short of another? I love my younger friends but somehow I don’t believe that my father’s generation you know the one called “The GREATEST Generation”, has much to fear from this one upcoming. But what one thing could we focus on changing, could we work on improving to help them achieve what it is they truly want in life?
This one is so simple; it is the single common thread running through everything that we have talked about thus far.
Lack of Confidence. This one often goes hand in hand with our previous issue. If you are told OFTEN enough, at a young enough age, that YOU HAVE FAILED, you will start to internalize that, and make it your own. DO NOT EVER let anyone label you with an ID that you don’t agree with 100% of the time.
a. So in order for you to BE a FAIURE it would mean that you have NEVER gotten anything right. Yet we have ALL won the good fight once or twice in our lives. We may not have been able to stand up and be recognized in front of 1000’s of people, but surely there have been times when you’ve won. Whether it was the bowling tournament on the weekend, or the science fair when you were six, there is a time when you were the best. THOSE are the times that you need to pull out every now and then and hold on tightly. DON’T live for them, but in those moments when you feel like NOTHING is going right, that’s when you’ll need them the most.
b. Have a more PLAYFUL and LESS serious attitude about life! I don’t mean goof off when you’re supposed to be working, but find SOMETHING that’s fun just for the sake of fun, and revel in it! Did you like the show “The greatest American Hero? That was NOT great writing by any means, but for 30 or 60 minutes it was fun just for the sake of being fun. Find a few of those and hang on to them. Maybe bring in some silly things and place them on your desk to remind yourself that no matter HOW serious your day to day job should be, you ALWAYS stay in touch with that little child that we all grew up with, and put it within your reach, so when things get TOO serious or TOO overbearing, what should YOUR outcome be?
IF FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION! – why is there even a check box for it on the firm of life? – continued…
First off, they might want to Re-Frame their definition of failure, and then determine if they crossed any of the lines that perhaps contributed TO failure in today’s society.
So, now for a reframe. Did they have any part in the vendor NOT being willing to sign the security agreement? One would certainly hope not. But what ABOUT all their effort. Well what else have they LEARNED while they have performed the required tasks on this project? Did they acquire skills that they can now carry to other areas of their job, develop ideas that can help pave the way for some other project? Maybe even learned enough that now they are interested in achieving more on another project? Sounds like a win to me!
IF FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION! – why is there even a check box for it on the firm of life? – continued…
Recently the CIO of a major corporation canceled a project that had been in the works for over 2 years. Hundreds if not thousands of man hours had been poured into this project, in the forms of testing, development and documentation. This CIO was approximately 5 levels AWAY from the folks doing the actual work. SO when it came time to make a decision did he call a meeting of the folks who were in the trenches doing the work, day in and day out, to give him the data that he would need to make his decision? Of course not, in true corporate fashion he chose a Project Manager that was so DIS associated with the project as to be laughable, and the opinions of a manager who had SO many things on HIS plate everyday, he couldn’t even NAME the folks performing the work, to gather some statistics and present them in a succinct and concise form that would allow him to make a snap judgment, which in this case led to the cancellation of this project.
Is this the BEST way to make a decision? Well this CIO thought so, and this is how he makes decisions most of the time. This is also how MANY upper level management types make decisions, there is an entire thought change moving through the country advocating just exactly this type of decision making. The challenge of course is that it doesn’t really apply to individuals very well, and unfortunately may NOT result in the best decisions being made.
So is this a failure of the team that spent hundreds of hours and weeks and months of their time supporting it? Certainly not, the stated reason for the cancellation is the vendor’s resistance to signing a federally mandated security form required by anyone working in that industry. So essentially, if that vendor EVER wants to sell this particular product, they will have to change their ways. But what ABOUT those individuals involved? How do you make sure that THEY don’t feel like they failed? How could THEY guarantee that this is not something that follows them around and becomes a boat anchor around THEIR careers?
This begins a short series on starting and FINISHING what you start and on why its not even conceivable to think about quitting!
“If you FAIL to plan than you are PLANNING to FAIL! We have ALL heard phrases like this. The best of course is the one that says “Failure is NOT an option.” Of course it’s not an option. It is unfortunately a RESULT, depending on how you look at things it could be am OUTCOME, but I can’t ever REMEMBER anyone ever saying, “Yes, today I think I’ll choose FAILURE.”
So if that’s true, and occasionally we have ALL missed our goals, or not quite reached our desired outcomes, see there are a LOT of different ways to phrase it, then WHY do we occasionally end up somewhere OTHER than where we intended?
Well one path may have been through poor planning, or not planning at all could certainly move us in a direction OTHER than that which we wish to end up. Additionally FOCUSING on the wrong thing could obtain a similar result. I have a great friend of mine who starts one of his award winning presentations asking the following question: “Which way does a motorcycle go?” See motorcycles are unique forms of transport, with only 2 wheels and a tremendous amount f balance required they only go in one direction, WHATEVER direction YOU, the driver, is LOOKING. Your life is the exact same way. Whatever you stay focused on, is where you will end up!
So when you’re coming around that turn, perhaps more than. a LITTLE faster than you should and you find your back end vying for the attention of where you front end SHOULD be you will actually end up wherever you are looking. In accordance with the laws of Physics, which I wont go into here, you will turn your front wheels in the SAME direction as the one in which you are sliding, but you want to focus your attention on the point that you want to end your slide. So if you’re sliding towards the wall, and you’re turned TOWARDS the wall, guess what happens next? Yep you got it CRASH right into THAT WALL!
So what SHOULD you be looking at, well actually you want to turn your tires in the direction your sliding, and then FOCUS your attention on a spot that is safely somewhere PAST that wall. This is the EXACT same strategy that you need to be using in your life.
You posted it WHEN?