This past week I’ve been reflecting on a lot of my failures. There was that time I bought the most amazing grey blazer and new sneakers, flew to LA to pitch a show to Netflix. Great meeting in the room, so much chatting and fun, and then a big fat no thank you from the executives after years of preparation and planning. I had to call ten very important people to tell them we had failed, it was mortifying.
Then I thought about that time we pitched a show to BRAVO, a paper pitch with a two minute highlight reel of what the show would be—they bought it on spec. I was looking at the paper pitch this week and thinking how terrible it was—a one sheet made by a kindergartener. We produced a pilot for them, one where they wanted to change the entire cast of the show and basically drove us crazy with pages and pages of notes. We spent months producing the pilot, I slept on the floor of the production offices to manage my editors to get us to the finish line and then, just like that, they never even aired our pilot. The deal was off.
Can we talk about the time I went on television and told everyone we were trying to pass a bill in the Indiana General Assembly and then weeks later we were dead in the water? Dang. Years of relationship building, research, championing, building pitches, sitting through hearings and then game over. That one was hard to swallow.
Or that time I took a job in Seattle so outside of my expertise and within six months I was packing my things and moving out of the city. Bye bye mountain apartment. Bye bye cushy paycheck. Talk. About. Failure.
You would think I would have stopped trying after all of this. You would think that I would have been smacked around so much by these failures that I would have said, “Forget it, no more putting myself out there, this is crazy town.”
I don’t know if it was my inadequacy as a sports player as a little girl or the constant embarrassment of not being even as half as good as my sisters at anything that made me really good at failing but, whatever it is, I’m happy that I am a failure.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent weeks and sometimes months analyzing a failure, wondering how I could have been better, laying around on my couch feeling like a fraud. But at the same time, for as many times as I have failed—I have succeeded.
So perhaps you are staring at an opportunity or holding an idea in your hands and you’re asking yourself, “Can I really do this?”.
I have no idea. I wish I could give you some secret formula to making it happen but there is no secret formula. The only formula I have ever found that works to succeed is to live in this place called crazy town where you just believe you can do it even when you have no signs telling you that you can.
I have pitched to the head of original programming for one of the most iconic companies in the world, that’s a win.
I have lived in Seattle and I can tell you where to go to see the mountain early in the morning and watch the sun rise over the Puget Sound. That’s a win.
I met one of my greatest friends by being without a place to live in New York City and trusting that Craigslist roommates were the answer. Win.
I have hung out with Mark Wahlberg on a set of a movie about giant robots and then in the same year been unemployed looking for work as a freelance producer. Still a win.
One time I started a mentorship company for women—helped thirty women and grew a community, then was too afraid to raise the money. Two years later a major brand launched my exact idea. I’m not reaping the benefits but so many women are, that’s a win.
You want security and stability and to know exactly how things are going to turn out? Go be an accountant and do people’s taxes. Numbers don’t lie.
You want to grow in your creativity, feel the rush of a new idea being born, collaborate with new people and change the world? Then you’re going to have to lose, a lot.
When you’ve failed, and you feel like you just ain’t got nothing left in you to try again..I want you to try a reframe. It’s a tool I use a lot in my coaching and it certainly will agitate you to even try it—and a big part of you is going to think things like: “this reframe is ridiculous, I actually know I am a loser, I have proof” but just try anyway-because that’s what we are all about here at Teresa Sabatine Coaching and Consulting—trying and trying, dreaming and dreaming, and putting ourselves out there.
Current perspective: I am a huge loser and I can’t get anything right and why do I even try.
Reframe: No risk, no reward. I will channel my creativity and the next thing will be even better.
Current perspective: I can’t believe they didn’t buy our show, it must be a terrible idea.
Reframe: Our show wasn’t a match for their network, but there are 20 other buyers out there and I am going to meet with every single one.
Current perspective: I can’t believe I quit that job in Seattle and let my friends down, I am such a quitter.
Reframe: I am really glad I learned that a tech company is not the place for me, I am excited to use this information to find a better fit for my skills.
So, can you really do this? You sure can—just keep failing and you will fail your way right into success. I’ve got to head off to tell my partners that Netflix bought a comedy version of our show and that we are still the little engine that could trying to find our home with another buyer. Another day, another failure. You’ve got this.
Does someone in your life need a reframe? Share this post with them and help them gain their spirit back and get up off the mat.
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