Friday, September 26, 2008

Don’t be afraid of failure

When a child is faced with a problem and doesn’t know the answer, they will charge forward anyway because they don’t have the fear of failure.

Quick story: At Christmas time a small church had the children from their congregation perform the Naivety scene. Everything was going well until the three wisemen walked on stage. The first wiseman said, “I bring you gold”, the second said “I bring you myrrh”, the third said, “Frank sendth me.”

The reason for the story is to illustrate how kids handle problems. The third wiseman didn’t remember his line (the problem) but he was not afraid to take a chance and move forward (no fear of failure). He may have learned the fear of failure based on the reaction of others. But at the time, the child was not afraid to make a valiant effort.

We as professionals need to be concerned about getting it right. But when we are burdened with the fear to failure, we have a tendency to fall back on what we already know and not necessarily push ourselves to find the best possible solution.

Look at how many times Thomas Edison failed before he figured out the solution to his light bulb. What about Babe Ruth, or Reggie Jackson, they were not afraid to strike out, so they took their cuts to hit the ball out of the park. How about Michael Jordan, how many times did he miss shots in his lifetime, and he still wanted the ball in the clutch. The fear of failure can be crippling. The excitement of success is empowering.

We as creatives need to remove the fear of failure and replace it with the excitement of success. With enthusiasm and pride on our side, we will work through all the failures to achieve great success. If it were easy anyone could do it. It is those that reach out, not afraid to make mistakes, are the ones who will achieve the greatest of successes.

I can tell you from experience, you will achieve far more success than you ever dreamed if you remove the fear of failure and replace it with the excitement of success.

Give it a try.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Don't Look past the obvious

What I don’t get is this resume scanning software (word search).
If you don’t have the right words in your cover letter or resume the software deems you not qualified and kicks you out. What’s up with this nonsense. I understand the need to manage a mass number of resumes, but what about those hidden gems, those that will change the world. Many of them are creative thinkers, not detailed obsessive. Can you image if some of the great minds in history had to submit their resume to be scanned before they were allowed to do what they did best.

Can you imagine Alexander Graham Bell’s resume when he was trying to invent the Telephone.
Goal: To talk to someone that is not with me.
Employment: Self employed
Skills and Experience: I am driven by a unique curiosity in a variety of scientific activities involving kites, airplanes, tetrahedral structures, sheep-breeding, artificial respiration, desalinization and water distillation, and hydrofoils.
Based on this resume, I would say, smart guy that has no experience in talking to people. But if I have a job for a sheep breeder, he is my guy.

What about Abraham Lincoln?
Goal: To become President of the United States
Education: Educated myself by reading borrowed books by the light of the fire.
Employment: Worked splitting fence rails and clerking in a general store, and then as a country lawyer
Skills and Experience: Can read by the light of a fire. I’m a quick learner.
Given his resume, would you believed that he really was a country lawyer. Who would have elected him to the Illinois General Assembly, or a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He achieved all that plus became one of the greatest US presidents in history.

How about the Wright Brothers.
Goal: To fly like the birds.
Experience: Published a daily paper. Make and repair bicycles
Education: High School studies in Greek and trigonometry, plus studied from my home library.
Skills and Experience: Like to tinker with thinks such as Kits and Gliders.
Special interest. Building wind tunnels.
Would you have trusted these guys who repaired bikes and like to tinker, to find a way for man to fly like a bird. As history shows, they accomplished flight never owning a pilots licenses.

The morel of all this is, when judging people, look past the obvious to search for the gems. They are out there, but a word search tool can only element them, it can’t find them.