Day 16: 24 Insights in 24 Days New Year Marathon
Let’s Talk About Failure
In this Insight, I’d like to start a conversation about something we seldom discuss; failure.
The bad stuff. That involuntary cringe you can’t help but express when your biggest mistakes come to mind. Keep on reading, and we’ll discuss:
- How being a colorist drives us to project success
- Breaking down how social media accelerates our ‘success only’ culture
- Separating shame from failure
- Sharing a story of complete failure
- Figuring out how to incorporate failure as a tool for success
- Breaking down ‘red flags’
What Do We Do With Our Failures?
We can’t blame ourselves for taking our failures and shoving them in the bottom of the coat closet. After all, they’re not happy memories. We’re supposed to show others the good parts about ourselves. The best parts. Especially when it comes to our profession, right?
Being a colorist is a job that doesn’t come with many laurels. We sit in our dark rooms, working the panels, oftentimes missing the sunlight entirely. It’s an amazing job (don’t tell too many people about it!). It’s creative, technical, and well respected within our industry.
The life of a colorist may seem quite different than many of the careers our friends and family members have chosen. However, being a professional in the age of social media, there is one unifying characteristic that ties all of our careers together:
The constant and never-ending need to project an image of absolute success.
Success is something that we absolutely need to fuel our careers and lives, inside and out of the suite. We judge ourselves and others judge us based on our relative levels of success. financially, work wise, and even personally! We want to make our friends, family and communities proud of us. Most importantly, we want to be proud of ourselves.
So we take our failures. We find a dark secret place. And we jam as many of them in as we need to. Most likely, we do so with the intensions of never revisiting them again.
Do We Live In A ‘Success-Only’ Culture?
Most of us spend a lot of time on social media. We scroll a lot, and we post a lot. As creative professionals looking for the next job, it’s not really an option to avoid or ignore these platforms anymore. With the need to participate, we’re signing ourselves up for a new normal that includes projecting never ending levels of success for our colleagues and business prospects.
Not to say tools like Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Clubhouse (I’m quite fond of that last new addition to the mix) aren’t extremely valuable tools. Just the other day, Robbie posted an excellent insight on leveraging Instagram as a business tool. At the end of the day, after all of their advantages, they’ve grown and contributed to a ‘success-only’ culture.
Whether we’re explaining the most recent project we worked on to our closest friends, meeting with our managers on Zoom, or endlessly scrolling the apps, success is always at the front of our minds. Sometimes, to a fault.
When we live in a world revolving around consistently projecting only the best parts of ourselves and our work, it becomes incredibly easy to forget the value of our worst moments that carry just as much, if not more worth.
We already know that failure is an incredibly important part of success. If you went on IG (Instagram for you uninitiated) and typed in your favorite colorist’s or filmmaker’s name, After likely be humbled by their amazing work, if you spend a second to ponder things, I think it’s safe to assume that person would have enough stories about failure to fill a book. We all do! So why don’t we talk about it more?
Why do we put shame in the same bucket as failure, close the lid, and shake it up so violently we can’t tell the difference between the two anymore?
I believe that we need more permission to talk about failure. The importance of failure. The strength of failure. The beauty of failure. Unfortunately, the clouds above aren’t going to open up and change the culture for us, it’s something we need to do ourselves. So, let me begin.
I’d love to share a story with you about a time when I failed so miserably, I lost my biggest client. I even questioned if I should continue on with this silly idea of being a colorist.