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Monday, June 15, 2015

We Learn So Much When We Fail

"Ever tried. Ever failed.
No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." ~ Samuel Beckett

One of the recurring themes in all the listening and reading I’ve been doing lately is that other people’s failures are interesting. It’s not that we want to look at something terrible and say “Oooh, I’m so glad that’s not me.” It’s the idea that we can learn from other people’s mistakes or failures without having to make them ourselves. There is not enough time in a lifetime to make every mistake there is (not that we'd want to, of course), but when you have a community of people with the same interests and goals, those failures become gold.

In working on this redesign (coming soon), I have gotten a lot of feedback from writers who want to know how other freelancers deal with problems. This is definitely a case where the smartest person in the room is the room itself.

Salvaje .Model&Photographer.

I imagine every member of the Writing for the Education Market community has made mistakes on this freelancing path. Yucky ones. The kind that make us cringe and hope no one ever finds out. But those are the stories we need to hear from each other. Freelancing can be isolating. You feel like you are ‘on an island’ as one reader said. That aloneness is heavy. When you hear a story of failure that resonates with you, you sigh and say, “Oh, I thought that only happened to me,” and the weight lifts a little. It’s always easier to carry something when it’s shared, right? 

But the real value is hearing how that person picked themselves up and carried on. What did they change because of this failure? These answers give us the tools we need to face those sticky situations ourselves, perhaps changing our outcome armed with that knowledge.

So here’s my question:

Would you be willing to share with this community a story of one of your failures or mistakes and what you learned from it? 

You can respond to the email feed or use the email address on the blog to write to me directly. I would love to collect your stories and share some with our community. Include #failup somewhere in the email so that I can search my inbox for them easily. 


Michele said... the idea...I actually have a story (ouch). The only thing I might recommend is to run the stories...well, at least for me...without names...since there are also folks on the list who hire freelancers. While one would hope that mistakes are understood...if not expected...we certainly don't want to be disregarded because of our cringe worthy errors...(mine is especially yucky!)

Laura said...

Hi. I've received several responses of people willing to share and one complete story. I'm thinking we can make this a weekly post, so you if you want to share one, write it up and leave it as a draft. I'll schedule them.

I look forward to reading your cringe-worthy story!