Failure is a de-stressing option

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com

Read the previous blog post, which in some ways fits with the overall theme “radically new thinking from business leaders”.

I can ask the same question here that I asked in the last blog post: If some business leaders now feel this way, the question arises why some business leaders did not feel this way 100 years ago. What is changing about the kind of people who become business leaders?

I can imagine all sorts of things I would do if Keen went poof. At first, I felt guilty for thinking this way. Then I felt incredibly liberated. Try it. Your work becomes 10X easier when you realize you don’t have to do it. You don’t have to do this. You are incredibly talented and there are so many opportunities out there.

To give yourself permission to fail, you have to untangle your ego from your work. Having your ego tied up in your work is a handicap. You can’t think strategically or take risks when you and your personal well-being are on the line.

I used to (and sometimes still do) romanticize Keen a little too much, thinking of it as my child, a part of myself. I’ve been working hard to untangle this. Not because I plan to care any less about Keen, but because I don’t want my ego & personal fears to get in its way. Keen and Michelle are two different things, or at the very least they are less overlapping than they used to be. If Keen is struggling, it need not mean Michelle is struggling. If Keen is taking a risk, it need not mean my happiness is on the line. It also means checking my ego and admitting (with some difficulty) that even if I fail completely at my job, Keen is going to be just fine. And, that if I fail completely at my job, that I will be just fine. It just means I tried something too difficult for me, or my assumptions were wrong. That’s ok too.

I’ll admit it’s a little bit awkward for me to write all of this out. It’s possible that I care about Keen more than anyone and here I am saying it’s OK if it busts. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a little bit terrifying to think about. But it’s also a huge relief, a weight off my shoulders. It would be okay. When failure is no longer scary, my work is no longer driven by fear. Paradoxically, thinking about Keen’s failure makes me more confident in our success. Not only does it become less scary, it seems incredibly unlikely.

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