11 Jan Dan’s Biggest F*ck Up
Our culture fears failure.
From an early age, we’re taught that there’s just one ‘right’ answer to any problem. At school, we’re expected to give the ‘right’ answer on the test. If you give anything other than the answer the teacher is seeking, you’ve failed. If you do that too many times, you might fail the class. It’s easy to see why we fear failure.
But failure is an integral part of the learning process. If we ever want to improve, we need to fail. That’s how we learn what works (and what doesn’t work.)
I was recently invited to speak about my failures at a really great event here in Toronto. Fuckup Nights is an event series that that shares stories of professional failure. It started in Mexico and has spread around the globe. The Toronto chapter launched earlier this year and has quickly become a phenomenon in the city. Each month, three or four people get up in front of a room full of strangers and share the story of their own professional failures.
I’ve presented at a lot of different types of events over my career, but this one is different. There’s special something in the air when people are willing to share their own professional blunders. The speakers’ vulnerability is rewarded by a very close connection with the audience. It’s almost like there’s a virtual collective hug taking place in the room.
I have lots of stories of failure, but the one I chose to share was particularly transformative. When my wife and I moved to Toronto, we didn’t know anyone. No professional contacts, no friends, no family. I needed to get my business up and running right away, so I did what everyone tells you to do – fake it ’till you make it.
Watch the video to hear why that was such a bad idea (and what I did to change and improve.)