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ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Fear and Failure

By May 8, 2009May 26th, 2016Strictly Business Blog

Most of us are terrified of screwing up in our businesses–of failing. On one level, this seems rational–we have bills to pay, responsibilities to uphold (families, employees, etc.) so failing sounds like a really, really bad thing.

But on the other hand, it isn’t. Failure is rationally rather a very good thing. Why? Because it teaches us.

We don’t learn from success. If you get something right, what growth does that show or nurture? None. You are already “there” as such. Nothing is gained inside of you via success. But if you try something and fail, either fail a little or a lot, you have the potential to examine what happened and to grow from that experience. It informs your mind and has the potential to open up new perspectives and ideas. By failing you may learn a new approach to the issue that you never would have seen had it worked on the first shot, for example.

As a creative professional, you owe it to your art and your business to grow throughout your career. If you don’t, that means at best stagnation or a slow professional death. If you aren’t reaching, you can’t grow. As my father used to say on our skiing trips, if you don’t fall, you aren’t trying hard enough to get better.

So stop being afraid of failure–push yourself more and risk screwing up! Embrace failure as a possible outcome and as your greatest teacher. Strive for success, sure, but know those falls on the way are fundamentally good things.