The psychological realities of failing fast (that no one tells you about…!)

The psychological realities of failing fast (that no one tells you about…!)

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on my journey with failing fast. If you haven’t read it you can check it out here.

In summary I shared how I overcame (which is still a work in progress) my incessant need to plan before acting which is a key element of failing fast. The part that dawned on me today – which I feel is often one of those unspokens – are the psychological realities of failing fast (a part 2 if you like to my original post).

The fundamental reality of failing fast is that you fail. A lot. And fast. You have an idea, you put it into practice, get feedback and then adapt your approach. You keep repeating this cycle until you get the outcome you’re after. By virtue of it’s nature you are open to finding more about what may not work than what might (unless you strike gold early).

Fail fast makes a lot of sense because until you take action, you don’t really know how things are going to land. So rather than long drawn out planning, take action as early as possible and then adjust. The reality though is whilst there are lots of benefits in this approach you need an abundance of emotional strength to stay the course.

When things don’t go as you’d hoped it affects you at an emotional level. It’s just how the vast majority of us are wired. I’m not sure I know many people that wouldn’t be affected, particularly if they care a lot about the outcome. Regardless of how strong or tough the stone might be a chisel over time will eventually wear it down. Let me add some colour…

I am currently trying to grow my passion of helping people find theirs. I firmly believe there are a lot of people out there searching for their passion but don’t know how to find what it might be for them. And through my experience and research I have designed a program that can help people find what it might be AND test it for themselves – because until you put something into practice you don’t really know what works. I am running my first program as a test and learn so that I myself live and breathe my mantra and get feedback to see what works and what doesn’t (fail fast!).

I have had some success in having people sign up to my program (thank you to those who have!) – I am however finding it a lot tougher than I originally anticipated. I am struggling to identify my target market as they don’t appear to associate with a demographic, education background or work experience.

I am adopting the elements of fail fast in how I spread the word about my program – I am trying multiple channels and approaches and at this point in time I am learning more about what doesn’t work than what does. Don’t get me wrong this is fantastic learning and I know I will get there in the long run. However as I mentioned earlier…regardless of how strong or tough the stone might be a chisel over time will eventually wear it down.

And so what keeps me moving are 2 things:

1) The support from the people around me. Starting with my wife and then my close friends I have a network of people who I call on when it all gets a bit much and I need to have a whinge…BIG thanks to them as they’ve been a huge support and have helped carry me through; and

2) My biggest motivator of all is the one who says the least of all – our 1 year old daughter. It’s the classic case of the greatest motivation isn’t the rah rah speech but whatever connects with you. For me it’s super important to live my life so I can be a role model for how she might want to live hers. And so when it comes to career – it’s simple – I need to pursue my passion if she is hopefully going to find and pursue hers. And so no matter how challenging things might get I know the example I need to set for her and so a glimpse of that little face is enough to keep me going 🙂

So if you are adopting a fail fast approach – particularly if it’s a solo endeavour AND it means a lot to you – I’d strongly encourage you to:

1) Establish a support network and lean on them when you need to (we aren’t superheroes and we all need help); and

2) Find what motivates you and have it on your radar constantly. It doesn’t have to be your child…it could be a picture of something meaningful (your parents?) that you put onto your phone/tablet that serves as a constant reminder. Doesn’t matter what it is as long as it resonates with you and is visible.

I truly believe that failing fast will achieve greater outcomes in the long run. In the mean time whilst you are on your journey it is important to be aware of the potential psychological strain it can have so that you can manage it appropriately…because regardless of how strong or tough the stone might be a chisel over time will eventually wear it down.


By |2017-01-10T21:12:42+11:00December 21st, 2016|Work|2 Comments