Everyone fails. Period.
No sixty-something Jewish males likes to admit failure. In my people’s extreme status and success driven culture, admitting failure is almost as forbidden as eating pork.
Nothing creates great friendships like sharing failures.
For almost eight years now, I have been fighting back against this intimidating cultural norm of hiding failure. Since the beginning of the Great Recession, when my wonderful business collapsed and I began an arduous and life-affirming path of professional reinvention, I became transparently honest in all social situations as to what this struggle has been. It does not always make people comfortable. But I refuse to play the "My Life Is Incredible" game. For those who are willing to listen and then admit themselves about their own failures, be they professional or personal, it produces meaningful conversations. And it leads to some great friendships, where you can honestly share the challenges of life.
The wake up call.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve failed, big and small. This is why I could hardly believe there was actually a temporary Museum of Failure in Downtown LA’s Arts District. I went it in late December, a period when I try to stay put, because LA is such a great place to be during the holidays. No where else offers what Los Angeles can at this time of year from great weather to the eclectic and unexpected.
The Museum of Failure is not just an entertaining and hysterically funny exhibit of some of the largest business failures ever. It’s a wake up call. We all fail. We need to talk about it. We need to laugh about it. We need to learn from it. We need to go on. (Make sure you scan down to see some of the exhibit photos and their explanations below.)
The only thing missing from the exhibit, was the last room should have been a group therapy session.
The Red Table: Success and Failure.
For me, as I enter in to 2018 with big hopes for our new business startup, The Red Table, I, as the Boomer among Millennial partners, am trying to learn from every failure I’ve had. I promise that as I tell you of its successes as the year goes on—and there will soon be some new ones to report—I will also tell you of its failures.
I’ll give you one of each now. There was the big, huge national bank that we did a Red Table for this summer in front of 200 employees, many of them senior management.
The success: The event won an award. Twenty big new ideas were created for the bank during the two hours of the Red Table event. Four are now being implemented.
The failure: We practically gave this Red Table away because we wanted to have the credibility and name of the bank on our roster. When the event was over, the bank’s legal department informed us we couldn’t use their name!
The learning: Get all the expectations in writing before you agree to the compensation.
Happy New Year. Thank you so much for being among the several thousand loyal readers of this blog. I wish for all of you that we keep failing in order to wildly succeed. Don’t forget to scan down.