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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JUNE 2010
In January of this year, I started a blog page to share valuable information accumulated from my years of education and experience as a mobile DJ, an MBA grad-student, and a business owner. The blog is going well but when I saw that Disc Jockey News was looking for online contributors I immediately jumped at the opportunity to reach a larger audience. My goal is to publish a new posting about helpful business topics and success stories. The audience I intend to serve are particularly mobile DJs either learning about managing a small business or experienced business owners looking to improve their organization. I love reading articles from fellow business owners about various topics. This is my way of giving back.
I wanted to start my first article by talking about ‘Failure’. A few months ago I read Jeff Richards’ “Starting From Scratch” article in the December issue of Disc Jockey News. He writes a great article every month aimed at helping start-up DJ businesses. In his article, failure was mentioned as he stated,
“You only fail when you set limits upon yourself. When you have doubts about your abilities, you fail.”
I thought about this for a moment to determine whether this made sense. Do we always fail when we doubt our ability? Probably not, but the article's content is to show how we can reduce our chances of failure if we remain confident in our ability to succeed. The way to stay confident is to avoid failing at something.
Failure is nothing that should be feared. It’s part of our developing process. I’ve been on many projects in the past where assessments were conducted after a project was completed. During these assessments, we evaluated what worked and what didn’t work. We didn’t point fingers or lay blame on the weakest links. We fixed the issues and learned from our mistakes. This goes for every event for which my company and I perform. After an event, we talk about what went well, what didn’t, and what we need to develop to avoid mistakes that we made. Continuous improvement is a key principle in managing a quality-based organization.
If you don’t believe me, ask the many successful people who failed repeatedly until they were perfect at what they did. One day on the Staten Island Ferry, I was looking over the shoulder of someone reading a newspaper – the Wall Street Journal, I think. Anyway, a certain article caught my attention and I liked it so much I hand copied it to a scrap of paper. After so many years, I came across this scrap of paper which stated:
“You’ve failed many times, although you may not remember. You fell down the first time you tried to walk. You almost drowned the first time you tried to swim, didn’t you? Did you hit the ball the first time you swung the bat? Heavy hitters, the ones who hit the most home runs, also strike out a lot. R.H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York caught on. English novelist John Creasy got 753 rejection slips before he published 564 books. Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times, but he also hit 714 home runs. Don’t worry about failure. Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try.”
This statement inspired me to write this article. Incidentally, I tried to Google the author of this passage to give proper credit but I’ve had no luck finding him or her. All I did find was a lot of bloggers that claimed this as their own. Only two blogs gave credit to an unknown source (This gave me the idea to talk about Ethics for next month’s topic possibly).
Anyway, can you believe how many times each person mentioned failed? Babe Ruth had how many strikeouts? I’ve realized how hard I’ve been on New York Yankees’ third-baseman Alex Rodriguez over the last five or six years as many Yankee fans have been. Since he was traded to the Yankees in 2004, Alex Rodriguez was a very good ball player, being voted MVP several times and breaking records his entire career. Despite his amazing talent he often left Yankee fans frustrated over his absurdly high-priced contract and no World Series title to show for it largely due to his failure at maintaining his superiority during every postseason from 2004 to 2007.
Despite his inability to perform under pressure, Rodriguez never gave up and when he had another shot in 2009, he came through for the Yankees as he played a major role in their success at winning the World Series.
Maybe there’s a proportional success-to-failure ratio but the key point of the passage is that you should not fear failure. Also, remember that this is not a ticket to be a “screw-up.” Proper planning is also needed to avoid unnecessary failures. Just strive past them by learning from mistakes, keep trying and don’t give up.


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