Getting comfortable with failure

by | 2 March 2017 | 1yearchallenge, Articles

This is a story about getting comfortable with failure. Most of us don’t feel comfortable releasing projects to the public that are not perfect. It’s a fear of failure. Trying so hard not to fail, we strive for perfection; and, if we cannot attain perfection (because perfection is literally impossible), we’d rather fail privately than publicly. At least, that was my experience.

I have piles and piles of unfinished projects.  Where I was striving to get it perfect, instead of just striving to get it done.

Done is better that perfect

A while ago my friend @Marrije said to me “Done is better than perfect”.  This got me to thinking about what the definition of “done” for me, or this project would be? Having a standard to measure against allows you to stop hiding behind perfection; and focus on getting it done. This doesn’t mean it will be of poor quality – just delivering something to the public, that is knowingly imperfect, which allows for valuable feedback for improvements.  Things you couldn’t have possibly known if you’d kept it all to yourself and continued to strive for perfection.

@marrije Done is better than perfect

I was almost finished designing the interior of the journal, when I spoke with my other friend @Annedien who is a naming-expert. She advised me on the name BetterJournaling® and to register the name as a brand. The perfectionist inside of me tried to take center stage and sabotage my progress: “this means a logo design process”“this means hiring an attorney“… “we need to wait for all of this before moving ahead!”.

My new mindset however was unshakable. “Get it done”“Get the prototypes out to the testers and get the input”“Get a decent second version completed to sell” “Use the learnings for the third version later this year”.

In the past, something like this would have been an obstacle and would have likely stopped me. Now though, I was determined.  I was decisive; and, most of all – calm, and ready to learn from anything that could go wrong. I was able to see opportunities and not threats.

Biggest take-away from the 1-year challenge so far

At the moment, it’s too early to tell about my learning from the design of the journal itself. But, there are other learnings that I could share with you.  The most important one being: don’t use Blurb to sell directly to buyers (if your target audience is outside the USA).

I investigated Blurb and found it amazing – until I found out too late about the ridiculous shipping rate for buyers! To the USA, it’s fairly normal at $3.99 but $10.99 for Dutch shoppers is just embarrassing.

I was embarrassed to send the first email on Valentine’s Day, knowing that many of readers are from the Netherlands. But you know what? Quite a few bought it anyway. To make matters worse… these buyers had to wait a few weeks to receive their #13weekjournal. That’s what you get with ‘printing on demand’. Ouch…

Fail? Maybe. Imperfect? Certainly! Educational? Above all!

At the moment I am waiting on a proof-copy from a different printer, which will become version 2.2 of the journal, which will be printed in bulk; and my dearest VA Sian is going to mail them to you for a very acceptable shipping rate turn-over time. The price will remain the same, you’ll just have it quicker at a lower price!

Blurb also doesn’t allow me to see who ordered the journals (#fail), so I can’t contact those people to ask if they want a refund or want to be compensated in some other way. If you are one of those early buyers (thank you!), and please contact me if you feel I should compensate you. Don’t be shy.  Remember you are awesome and I want to be awesome for you too.

Thanks for reading, you are awesome. You know that, right?!

Read all about the BetterJournaling®-story

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