Dare to suck.

08Jul09

Experiments & failure are good for business. You always learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes, yet I feel a lot of times that our culture doesn’t allow for failure any more.

Imagine how much farther we would be along if we were allowed & encouraged to fail, instead of stressing about always succeeding and maybe doing sub-par work so that our jobs are safe?

Experimentation is the spice of life & I believe the social media world allows us to fail in a very public way (meaning it’s a good thing). It encourages us to try things, admit when we have not done as well as we hope to, pick ourselves up & try again. As association executives we will never be able to please all of our members all of the time, but I still believe we should shoot for the stars. Find out what really works, as opposed to what keeps the membership at bay. (And I have in the past worked for associations that do this)

In my Freshman Acting class in college, our teacher gave us a mantra… “Dare to suck”. Meaning push yourself as an artist and not be afraid to fail. It’s that fear of failure that stifles creativity and makes our efforts sub-par, restricted & uninspired. (Makes me think of member-get-a-member campaigns)

I understand that for a business ROI is important, but why not build into your process time for experimentation and failure? By allowing a little breathing room, you may just be setting yourself up for even greater results.

What do you think? Have you ever “dared to suck”? Did it come back to bite you in the butt or did you see improved results because you were willing to take a risk?

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4 Responses to “Dare to suck.”

  1. Dare to Suck – love that. And I think that volunteers at the chapter level need to hear this advice too. They so want to win Chapter of the Year they forget to try and test and fail sometimes. Noone rewards them for failing 🙂 I’m sharing this!

  2. Another variation on this — when an association, chapter or niche group keeps doing the same things year after year because those things work, and therefore never thinks to reexamine, mix it up or try new things that might work even better.

    Peggy raises a good point. Are we encouraging our volunteers to fall in line and do the expected, or are we giving them the freedom and support to be true leaders and take us places we hadn’t thought of?

  3. Great points from both of you ladies!

    There is no success without the risk of failure. So my question, is how do we get leaders & executive staff involved/engaged that will support us while allowing us to experiment & fail?


  1. 1 What I’m Reading | Spark Consulting

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