You heard it right, don’t be afraid to fail. The quickest road to success is to take an attitude of “no fear” toward failure. Playing it safe because you can’t handle being rejected or having your ideas fall flat time and time again, won’t get you anywhere. Every failure is a stepping stone that teaches you how to do it better, smarter, more creatively. Also, something that at first feels like a failure may actually catapult you further than you thought you could go. You have to be willing to risk it all to be the artist who breaks away from the pack. Taking risks doesn’t mean being reckless. If you educate yourself about the business, you can take calculated risks and choose your spots. Failure is certain if you do the same things for years and nothing changes. Insanity is doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result.
Try to re-frame the picture. You can stay comfortable all your life and be mediocre and or you can step way outside your comfort zone and be great. So you took that first step and it didn’t work or it’s taking months and months, so what? Keep going, let yourself be uncomfortable while you are making changes that will have a tremendous impact on your career, your life. Are all of your peers telling you to play it safe and not rock the boat? Maybe they are projecting their fears onto you, ignore them. If you really want to reach greatness, be that one in a million artist who achieves international fame, it don’t come easy. You will feel uncomfortable most of the time because you are constantly striving for more, pushing yourself to the limit. That’s what it takes.
A big part of being willing to take risks is staying positive about the failures. If you look at them as stepping-stones and a path to greatness, you won’t back down. There has to be some stubbornness in there that keeps you going no matter what. Perhaps people telling you to play it safe are scared to death themselves of any kind of change. Change brings about anxiety, so expect it. One way to lessen some of that anxious feeling is to keep a journal. Write everything down throughout your day, keep lists and be organized. It really helps to keep you calm and centered. Don’t just hap haphazardly jump from one thing to another. Make a plan and do your best to stick to it. Stay away from negative toxic people in your life and surround yourself with a positive support system of friends and colleagues that you trust…not that tell you what you want to hear so that you can wimp out and go back to your comfort zone. Yes men won’t help you achieve anything. Look for super smart savvy people who are consistent in their life and careers who have achieved greatness, and follow their habits. Talk to them if possible, how did they do it?
We live in a culture that doesn’t reward defeat or broadcast it, unless that defeat later leads to some incredible success. That’s what happened to Thomas Edison whose phenomenal invention was the light bulb. It purportedly took him a thousand tries before he had a successful prototype. A reporter asked him, “How did it feel to fail a thousand times,”I didn’t fail a thousand times, Edison replied, “The light bulb was invented with a 1000 steps.”
The Materialistic Gatekeepers of the Music Industry are partly in your mind. YOU are the gatekeeper of your business. The field for Indie artists is more wide open than it’s ever been. That one person that you keep referring to, who you need to hear your music, is living right next door to you. It’s a fan, your fan, if you reach out. Industry Professionals swarm around artists who have fans clamoring to hear their music and see their shows. Your fans have all the power and YOU have the power to reach those fans. Get up every morning ready to go to work on your business and don’t expect it to fall from the sky because you put out a new record. Without fans to hear it, no one will ever know the difference. Build the fan base first and then worry about how many recordings to make. You need a great product without a doubt, the music has to be undeniable. Even if it is, without reaching out to fans every day, no one will hear it. But I am making the world’s greatest record you say and then I will have world domination. Really?The fans will decide what is a hit and what isn’t so you better get busy every day building the machine. You don’t know everything because we’ve never heard of you, so humble yourself, think outside your comfort zone and open your mind. The Industry is changing everyday and you are not. You are being left behind. Safe, comfortable, and getting nowhere. How does it feel?Better to to take the risks, feel the anxiety of the unknown than to live a life full of regret. Don’t let that be your legacy; you were too afraid to take the risk.
If you are going to fail, fail big. To have amazing success, you may have to have amazing failure. Learn from it, document it, and use it to teach you how to change your game plan. Complacency won’t get you where you want to go. Someone else will notice and will pass you by while you are feeling smug. Keep finding ways to improve your music and your business or your ideas will be stolen, improved upon, and put you out of a gig or a major opportunity. If you aren’t willing to take the risk and do the work, someone else will for sure. This is a tough, competitive business and having your friends tell you how great you are won’t get you where you need to go.
Enjoy failure, learn from it and keep moving. Take a fall, and maybe when you get up you will be top if the heap. The best never miss a beat.
“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
― Winston Churchill