Failure. It can give you sweaty nightmares, awful sinking feelings, clammy hands and a feeling of doom. This year I have learnt that failure also gives you a golden chance to try again and do things differently.
Take it from me – the buzz you get from seeing success out of something you previously thought had failed is a game changer!
Returning to a failed creative project has been one of the best things I have ever done.
Here is my story and my reasons:
Last November I bid a tearful farewell to my podcast ‘The Diary of Roxy Collins.’ It wasn’t getting listened to and my podcast stats were flatlining (there was a good reason for this but at the time I just dismissed everything).
I didn’t shut the show down, I just walked away from it and labelled it as a ‘failed project’ in my head.
If you read my post ‘Why Forgiveness Is So Important For Writers’ you will know that after reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie book, I asked the universe for creative direction. The answer which came back was…return to your podcast.
I rolled my eyes at the universe, muttered stuff under my breath, swallowed a bucket load of pride and went back to my failed project.
The things I told myself were:
- No one’s listening to it, so this is a good chance to inject some life into it.
- Things cannot get any worse.
- Do something different and if it still doesn’t work – can it!
- Build on what you have learnt so far.
- Forget about the stats and enjoy it.
- Learn something from it.
I started to enjoy myself during the recordings. No one was listening so I could let go and get into character.
I looked back at my podcast journey and asked myself honestly what wasn’t working before Christmas. The answers were some of my earlier episodes sounded a bit lifeless and I wasn’t promoting it. Self promotion is hard. OMG – I would rather stick pins in my eyes than do this. Over recent months I have come to believe that I suffer from, what I like to call, self-promobia. This is a terrible phobia (which I have made up) of promoting yourself / your creative work.
I told myself things couldn’t get any worse with the podcast so why not try promoting it? It’s not easy to start promoting properly as you think you are bothering people on social media or your work is not worthy enough of a tweet or a pin. After a few tough sessions where I shouted at myself whilst on Twitter and my creative friends shouted (use of capitals) at me via a messaging app I started to promote my podcast.
I also went back and re-recorded some of my earlier episodes. This was all about feeding in all the stuff I had learnt about recording and editing.
Since returning to my failed project in January, my podcast figures have significantly increased!
Now, I am not some famous podcaster or anything, but to see a creative project start to grow is magical. Especially when it was one you had previously labelled as a ‘failure.’
This project has taught me a lot. Failure was something I used to dread but now I have changed my mind. Like I said above, it’s a golden opportunity to try again, learn and shake things up a bit.
I am going to finish this post with a quote from Richard Branson.
Have a great day!
“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”
― Richard Branson