Learn why failure can be pivotal in your professional development.
(upbeat music) - Okay, listen carefully. Screwing up is where it's at. Oh, watch out, camera. I mean that. Anyone who wants to be really successful has to push hard enough to endure mistakes, setbacks and failures and guess what? Those mistakes can be marvelous. They can be catalysts for learning if you make that choice.
Let me try and model that for you and just make fun of myself a little bit. I have a wonderful job as a professional speaker and well, I wasn't always that good. Maybe 10 years ago when I was still a rookie, I got a call from a very large company I know that you've heard of and I was so excited. It was proof that I had arrived and I went to the right hotel at the right time ready to give the big speech. We had cameras, we had lighting, big introduction. I took the stage smiling, very happy that day. Look at me and then I opened my mouth and started speaking.
Their disinterest was very, very obvious. No more obvious than at the very end when I said thank you and that audience of 500+ people gave me the most unearned insincere golf clap you had ever heard in your life. For me, professionally, that made me feel one inch tall and I had no idea how to fix the situation. Luckily I figured out soon after this something my mom tried to teach me years ago.
She said look, people make mistakes, but you got to make a choice. You want to sit around and feel sorry for yourself. Woe is me or do you want to make the choice to learn something and maybe become a better version of yourself? I took her advice and I realized I can study this like any other skill and we have video of great speakers throughout history and I watched every single one of them I could get my hands on and learned from those great communicators how to do what I was trying to do, but do it better.
Now I know that many of you have had experiences just like that, lots of people with lots of interesting learning experiences, not just me. So let's go talk with a few of them. (upbeat music) So think about a time that somehow you messed up at work. How does that make you feel? - Well I think the bigger thing is you know, you care about your projects and you care about your team. So you start to worry about how did I let down and who I can be better in the future? - Yeah, I was working on as a camera assistant on a commercial production.
In a big commercial production, you get a prep day that you're supposed to get all the gear ready to go. - So there was a piece of code that I had written that was supposed to save my team a ton of time. - And then on the day, we found out that there was a piece missing for us and this like very small piece was critical to being able to get the shot. - It turned out that not only for us, but for people down the pipeline, it was actually causing a bigger problem than it was being a solution. - In my mind, I knew it was going to cause like a three to five hour delay. I might get fired because of this.
- So you thought you were doing something good for the team and it turns out your harmed the team a little and maybe some other teams as well. - Exactly, yeah. - How did that make you feel? - It wasn't great 'cause I had to go then back, redo everything everyone had done for the last week. - Pretty terrible. I was anxiety ridden. - So short-term, clear almost visceral pain associated with that error. - Absolutely. Both physical and mental just like very stressed. - What about long term? Overtime, were you able to learn something that became useful for you? - I definitely learned what I would do in that situation in the future.
- I made a big mistake. I realized I made a big mistake. The team realized it was a mistake, but ultimately, it made us all better because I then realized on projects going forward that I needed to be a little more careful. - Well I think the bigger thing to consider isn't necessarily is this mistake really good or bad, but what did I learn from it and how can I make myself better in the future. I hope to make all of my mistakes marvelous mistakes. (upbeat music) - So look if you want to maximize what you can become and what you can help your team become, well you have to start right now no longer fearing mistakes.
In fact, I'm going to challenge you. It's not just about avoiding or fearing mistakes. It's about pushing hard enough, trying enough things, innovating hard enough so that you definitely create some mistakes. I'll tell you, if you don't make at least one or two significant mistakes every year, well you're not trying hard enough. Remember what Einstein said. A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new. Start now pushing forward. Push the limits, make a couple mistakes, then learn something and do even better next time.