Failure is scary. Failure is inevitable. But not all failure is the same.
If, like me, you’ve experienced a lot of failure in your life, then you know how much it can hold you back. The fear of failure, more than anything else, keeps people from achieving their dreams. Even though virtually every successful person explains how they failed several times before “making it”, we’re still afraid,
So, knowing that it’s inevitable and knowing that we can’t change it, is doing nothing the answer? In a word, no.
Instead of trying to make it non-existent, which is impossible, try changing your approach to it.
Stack the Deck In Your Favor
When thinking of goals you want to accomplish, think about the activities you can do that will still provide some value to you even if you don’t hit your target.
For example, let’s say you’re an expert in your specific field and you want to get paid for giving presentations at conferences. Your goal is to make an extra $5,000 in speaking revenue by giving 10 talks over the next 12 months.
Think about all of the things you’re going to need to do to make that happen.
- Define a topic and perform thorough research
- Create your presentation and refine it
- Practice your speech in front of the mirror, on video or in front of a group of friends
- Build a network of connections in your field, specifically with people who organize events and who are well connected
- Create a website or landing page where people can learn more about your topic and download your slides
This is far from an exhaustive list but you get the idea. Now, let’s say at the end of 12 months you booked 7 talks and made about $2,000. At first glance, that looks like a failure of your goal.
However, you’ve stacked the deck in your favor.
After a year and 7 talks, you now have a much greater idea of what your audience finds compelling and what questions they want answered. You’ve also built a wide network of connections in your industry who can help you get booked at new gigs the next year. Not to mention, getting invited back to the ones you already spoke at.
Also, from giving and practicing your speech so often you’ve now become exponentially more competent at delivering your material and can do so with much less preparation. You’ve also started to build an email list of people intereted in downloading your slide deck and people who may be interested in whatever you’re doing in the future.
An added benefit is that you’re now seen as an authority at your work and you can communicate ideas much more effectively. You’ve also gathered a lot of outside ideas from converstions and from listening to other presenters. Ideas you can bring back to your company, making them more money or reducing costs, leading to a promotion.
Do you see what happened there? Sure, you didn’t reach your goal but you created a no-lose scenario. You’ve ammased a valuable skillset. You have way more connections in your industy. You’re seen as authority.
Assuming your talks provided a lot of value.
The 6 C’s Framework
A great framework for thinking about how to set up a no-lose scenario is the 6 C’s Framework from Dan Sullivan at Strategic Coach. Dan says to expand your notion of how you get paid. Basically, there are more ways to get “paid” than just cash, although over time they will all likely lead to more money. The 6 C’s are:
Let’s review some of the benefits we received from our example:
- Define a topic and perform thorough research – Capability
- Create your presentation and refine it – Capability
- Practice your speech in front of the mirror, on video and a group of friends – Confidence, Capability
- Build a network of connections in your field, specifically with people who organize events and are well connected – Connections, Credibility
- Create a website or landing page where people can learn more about your topic and download your slides – Creativity, Connections
So, you can see that there are more ways to get paid than just cash. Taking this approach where your goals inevitably allow you to build new skillsets, connections or any of the other “C’s” is a way to create no-lose scenarios.
Failure doesn’t look nearly as scary from this perspective. In fact, this just made me want to go get started “failing” on some of my goals I’ve been putting off.
Hope it helps you as well.