Thursday, July 10, 2008

Failing Forward

Have you ever been around someone who says, "I'm not good enough yet to do that"? Or how about, "He does it so much better than I can, so I'll let him do it"?

I know many such people and I in fact have been like this at times. Perfectionists.

Being a perfectionist can be crippling. If we buy into the lie that "if it can't be done perfectly, it shouldn't be done at all" we will never do anything.

Those who are very good at something have obviously failed many times in order to perfect their craft. The only way you will get better is to do if it is not that great. You will eventually get better. And in almost every case, something done poorly is worth more than something not done at all. Someone once told me that the key to growth is to Fail Forward.

Here is what Zig Ziglar says about this topic:

Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Doing Poorly

Chances are superb that when you saw the heading of this article you did a double-take and thought to yourself, "That is ridiculous!" But, let us think together and I believe you will agree that the observation is correct. Look at it this way: If you were to quit any endeavor because you did miserably on the first try, your life would be infinitely poorer. Think of it this way: When you watch sports professionals, whether golf, tennis or any other sport, play near-perfect games, you probably stand in amazement. What you're watching is an individual who has literally hit thousands of golf balls, or tennis balls, many of them poorly, and has taken hundreds of lessons from teaching pros to improve his or her game. They understood from the beginning that if they were going to play good golf or tennis, they would play a lot of poor games along the way.

The same applies in every area of life. Most sales professionals probably blew many sales before they became consummate professionals. They understood that every call, whether they made or missed the sale, was a marvelous learning experience. They understood that if it was worth doing, it was worth doing poorly - until they learned to do it well.

The same can be said of the exceptional teacher or the master chef. Each undoubtedly made many mistakes along the way, but they considered those "mistakes" learning experiences. So, whatever your endeavor, just remember that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing poorly until you can learn to do it well. Buy that idea and I'll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!


Rick said...

Excellent post, Jim. I have often not tackled something for the fear of not doing it *the best* or *perfectly*. Again, great message my friend!

Jim Lange said...

Thanks Rick! Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with failure!

Rick said...

In my overall perception of you, Jim, which I know to be true... you're quite the success.

Jim Lange said...

Thanks my friend!