About 6 weeks ago I was having a conversation with the team I work on at Cross Point. We were grinding and developing plans for upcoming series and artwork. During our talk we discovered that we had slipped into the habit of playing it safe so I challenged all of us that between now and the end of summer we need to each fail at least once and I am not talking about average failure like, forgetting a lighting cue or not spell checking, I am talking about a massive, catastrophic, remember for a long time type of failure.
Now, these type of challenges are great conversations but what happens when they have to come to life? A few days later in our series-planning meeting we put a bunch of ideas on the board, picked one, and went after it. We were going to try to do something different even if it killed us.
Well, we did not meet our own expectations. The piece came off but was not what we had dreamt it would be. The first failure had broken the glass and allowed our team to see that while we talk about failing forward and how our team is a safe place we actually MEAN it! On Tuesday I went in and talked to my peers and my boss, we talked about what we missed, I owned it, and guess what…no one got fired. In fact, we were encouraged to get back on the horse and try it again. So later that day when our team had a recap meeting I was able to tell them:
“Remember when we talked about failing, I went first, so now you get a chance. And I talked to everyone today and no one fired me, it really is safe, now GO CREATE!”
Failure is where the lessons live. It is where the rich, honest, real possibility exists. The courage to take a chance and do something amazing always exists behind the shadows of fear and insecurity. When we don’t challenge ourselves and take a chance we devalue the opportunity to do anything new, awesome, momentum creating or fresh. Artists push organizations into new places. It is not only or privilege to beat fear and take chances it is our responsibility.
You won’t get fired.
Your art is not your identity.
You can do this!