A little story from IA Summit. I was in David Farkas's session on failure, an excellent one, and he talked about how we can see failure as something we ultimately embrace and learn from. One of the activities he had us do was to write down a failure and share it with the person next to us.
I was in this session and I really thought about it and was sitting there thinking, "What would I be willing to share with someone about failure?" The thing I started with was the whole, "Oh, I rely on email too much" type of thing. And it's true, I do, and I'm still working on it but I'm mostly better at it.
It was time for us to share. I turned to the person next to me - her name was Samara - and I said hello and introduced myself. I started by saying... by looking at that moment and saying, wow, this is not really that much of a failure thing. This is kind of... this isn't terribly interesting either, not even to me. Instead I said, "Listen. I wrote this thing about email and how I use it and how I've relied on it. But the failure I really want to tell you about was last night.
"There was karaoke night at IA Summit and I did not go. And that failure to me was not taking advantage of that opportunity to connect with people and see lots of new people and the like. And part of it was out of a fear of judgment, frankly." As I've written about I haven't seen myself as someone who can sing. So I really took that as something that ultimately kept me in that night. That is what did it, really.
And in that moment when I was sharing it with her it was something that was honest and true and I felt that. The terrible thing is that we ran out of time and I didn't get to hear her [failure] until later! But we did [share it], we did. The best part too is that one part of me also said, "Oh, you can say this to her and you'll probably never see her again so it's all good!"
The next day, I had lunch - Whitney Hess invited me to lunch - and then she brought in some folks and Samara was one of them - which was awesome!
My point of this is to say that being honest with yourself is super important. But also look how it is to be honest with *others*. In this case it gave me something totally unexpected: it let me be in that moment more and let me be honest and true with myself, and as a result I was able to be honest and true with Samara as well. So it was an awesome moment and those are the ones I want to strive for versus not being there, not being present, not being honest with myself and others.
So: accept failure and be honest.