Fail Fast - Get it wrong today. Kick ass tomorrow! There are piles upon piles of books, VHS tapes, Ted Talks and podcasts about overcoming the age-old “Fear of Failure.” And everyone knows we should “learn from our mistakes" and that “good things can come of bad.” Indeed, as failure is often described as the quickest and most reliable route to success, why do we dread it so much? Why? Human nature. Fear of failure is essentially fear itself.
Without fear, we’d refuse to educate ourselves. We’d walk blindly into traffic or jump into the deep end of the pool without knowing how to swim. Etc etc etc… On the one hand, fear of failure is a life-saver and the driving force behind our desire to grow and better ourselves. But, on the other, if left to run wild, this particular fear can stifle creativity turning a corner from self-preservation and quality control to self-defeating perfectionism. Successful people view failure as an unique opportunity to earn first-hand wisdom.
These do-ers quiet their perfectionist tendencies enough to realize failure almost never results in absolute catastrophe. In reality, making mistakes or falling short of expectations rarely involves more than losing a little money and wasting some time - a small price to pay for a potentially invaluable experience… regardless of the outcome. So, how might you apply this mindset specifically as a MusicMaker?
Here are a number of suggestions from your friends at KiKu:
1) Seek out and embrace criticism... and do it early in the creative process. Play your newest songs to anyone that will listen - not just to your mother and your closest friends. Ask other MusicMakers and MusicPros what they think and really Listen, not just to their words but also to their reactions. Once you have feedback from your Inner Circle. Play your song at an Open Mic or a KiKu SongCircle. Is your audience losing interest after the first chorus? Does the message in the lyric provoke conversation? Is the subject or feeling coming across like you hoped it would? Once you've done this, use this information to determine for yourself if the song is up to the standard you want for yourself. You don't have to take everyone’s advice on board (and you probably shouldn't!) but never reject what you hear simply because it challenges you.
2) Put yourself out there and widen your network! Pick up the phone, reach out via social media, go to a KiKu networking event and introduce yourself...to everyone. Ask them about themselves and be ready to talk about yourself in honest and direct terms. Where you are in your career... where you'd like to be... Most people are afraid of rejection - a particularly emotionally challenging form of failure. But a little persistence can go a long way towards developing new and empowering relationships. If someone rejects you, don't be afraid to ask why. If you get an answer, maybe you're being presented with an opportunity to grow. As long as you’re friendly and polite, you lose nothing by trying to make new connections.
3) Get out of your comfort zone! Expose yourself to new music and new production styles that challenge you and broaden your horizons. If you’ve never co-written, do it. If you’re 40 years old or older, use the Social Media that you don’t understand. Sure it’ll be disorienting and somewhat embarrassing at first, but don’t avoid or pre-judge things out of ignorance.
Put yourself out there and try new stuff. Like we said earlier, what’s the worst that could happen? There's an old saying that goes: "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." The happiest and most fulfilled MusicMakers know this and they are out there taking chances, writing for the waste basket, starting that new band they've always talked about, and more.
Whatever is holding you back, whatever idea you have or song you’ve written that just "isn’t ready”... Let it go. Let it fly or fall.
Either way, the result probably won’t kill you.
This blog post is part of a four part series on failure from http://KiKuSongs.com