Fail First

Taking Your Project on a Road Trip

Most of us take our projects to the same destination.

Some take the shortcut. Their projects go like this:

Idea! Expectations! Fear! Quit…

Some take the scenic route. Their projects go like this:

Idea! Expectations! Fear! Push through and start! Excitement! Excitement drifts. Expectations aren’t met. Quit…

In both cases they go from idea to expectations and expectations are almost always about what success will look like.

And success almost always has to do with growth, profit, and most importantly, what people think of us.

Therefore, failure CAN NOT be an option.

Now, in risking that I’m just going to sound super zen and self-helpish…

Failure doesn’t really exist.

At least not how we often experience it.

In most cases, failure just means the omission of an expectation. That is, something you expected to happen, didn’t happen.

You feel that result as failure.

And many of us have grown up to replace the monster in the closet with failure.

It lurks and we hope that by ignoring it, it won’t get us.

So, what is one to do? How do you take your project on a road trip to a different destination?

Here’s a better way:

Have an idea?!

Good.

Get in the car.

First stop:

Failure…

That’s right.

Fail first.

Begin by assuming that all of your expectations of a successful project won’t be met.

Your expectations won’t be met.

It’s a bit of insanity on our part to assume that we know what failure and success are anyway. All we know is what we want them to be and it’s usually because we’re trying to fill something inside of us.

Often times, our project is not about the project at all. It’s about us. And this is why failure is fear-inducing. If this fails, I fail. If I fail, it confirms that I’m a failure.

Failure will be an essential part of your project.

What feels like failure is a door to something that you haven’t had the fortune-telling-power to predict. That thing might turn out to be better and all together different than the success that you hoped for and expected at the start.

Begin by choosing to fail.

Face it. And then move forward anyway.

Embrace the idea that by starting, the project will lead you to something.

After all, doing the project is the point.

So, for the love of the project, fail first.


This is my daily project where I write about diverse ideas.

This is Dose #33.

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