Creativity is NOT easy. Sometimes it flows, but a lot of times you have to fight your way through a difficulty; one that would cause many a lesser crafter to toss their foam brush against the wall in utter defeat. One of the big truths about being creative, however, is that failure is part of the secret sauce of success. It moves us forward, and it means you’re risking something to create something. I thought of four reasons why risking failure is worth it.
Reasons risking failure is completely worth it, especially when you’re creating
Reason 1: Risking failure means we are reaching for something more
My boys sometimes watch the epic “fails” on Youtube. It’s hilarious just to watch them watch the videos. And just a few days ago my dad sent me a pic of a Pinterest fail. He and my mom have been trying to learn how to paint acrylic landscapes. Which I think is AWESOME, but when I asked him how it was going, he sent me a pic like this…
Pretty funny, right? But part of what makes it so funny is that it is so so true. And it’s something we can all relate to. We fail a lot. Sometimes spectacularly, sometimes in a smaller way that only we can really see. But here’s the thing, we wouldn’t fail if we didn’t risk failure. If we didn’t try to reach for something that was a little bit out of our current reach, if we didn’t try for more then we were truly confident we could do, then we wouldn’t fail. Stretching out, risking failure, striving for more, those are what ultimately bring reward. So failure is, in a way, a validation that we are trying for more, and an affirmation that we are reaching for our dreams. Dreams that we would NEVER realize if we didn’t at least try.
Reason 2: We learn to move forward even when there are obstacles
Failure teaches us the value of perseverance. Everytime we fail, but continue to try, we are building up an internal resolve that we can do it. We’re continuing to hope that if we keep trying, our results will change and we could still succeed. And often we do. I tried metal stamping years ago when it was first becoming popular. I love metal. It’s one of those materials that present some real challenges, and I love me a craftin’ challenge. So I bought a bunch of tools and supplies, along with a book on how to stamp metal. Completely outfitted, I joyfully hit one type of metal, with a stamp of a harder type of metal and tried to spell something out. FAIL! Like bad. But I tried again, and again, and again…. and again I failed. I can’t tell you how many times I failed. It was A LOT.
[Full disclosure: I did take a break from the project then. It might have been when I ran out of metal pendant blanks, or it might have been when I hit my thumb so hard the skin underneath split. I had to go pick up my son from school clenching a bloody paper towel wrapped around my hand. I ended up seeing the school nurse. I can pretty much guarantee I was the only parent to walk in like that.]
BUT, I was still confident that I could do it (hello, other people did it), and so I didn’t give up. I paused, regrouped, and did some research. I found some pretty awesome tips and techniques online, and those completely helped me NAIL IT. And I ended up making lots and lots of solid selling products, plus teaching a few classes on how to do it. Nailed it again-ha!
Reason 3: We learn what needs to change
A large reason for our success after failure is that we look at what we did wrong, and we learn from our mistakes. I know that doesn’t make the fail any less heart-wrenching, or spectacular as the case may be, but I think that we learn more from those huge moments of failure than we do from the smaller “oops” moments. For instance, I can tell you with absolute certainty that if I try to make beeswax food wraps with an iron I will ruin my iron. (And… any white shirt I may have tried to iron after that.)
Reason 4: Winning feels better when we try harder
I’d argue that the more often we fail, the better success feels. If we only tried to make things that we knew we would be 100% successful at, we would be 100% successful. But before you think that sounds great, realize our emotional reaction to those successes are flat and certainly not the “yes!” euphoria we get when something finally works. I feel AWESOME when I reach for something hard and I ROCK IT. The night I read the acceptance email that I received from Stampington and realized I was publishing a book AND they wanted me to write ARTICLES, I screamed and ran out of the office. I about hit my knees on my mouth when I jumped, it was hanging open so far. I would NOT have been so thrilled had I not felt like I was overreaching by even submitting my work, AND if I hadn’t experienced plenty of failures prior to that success.
The more we invest and overcome the greater the reward.
Failure is worth the risk. Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” He may not have been referencing his last craft project, but hey, I’d argue its’ a concept that’s universally applicable.
When was the last time you risked failure? Was it worth it?
When is the last time you failed? Did you try again? Did you do it smarter? Differently? Spectacularly? If you can’t remember, then I want to challenge you to try something new this week. Push yourself in a new way, or with a new skill or technique. See if you can spot the benefits in the risk. If you’re unsure what to do then check out the freebie below and see if you can do something with it. That would be awesome!
A freebie to bee creative with!
If you want to see if risking failure is completely worth it, I have a challenge for you. In memory of my failed beeswax wraps, I will be giving away the .svg file I created for the project in my free resource library. The vision was that SAHMs (Stay at Home Moms) could use the super cute beeswax wraps (with the cute honey themed affirmations and notes) to wrap their kids’ (probably organic) sunbutter and jam sandwiches. Which would make the maker and the receiver feel awesome (I was shooting for a niche- I know). ?
And now I feel like I am totally redeeming that project by handing it off to you, my readers, as an incentive to create something awesome. It doesn’t have to be the wraps. It could be lunch bags, mugs, shirts, or save the bees bumperstickers. Just bee creative. (Yup, sorry.)
Made it? Share it!!
If you do decide to try the beeswax wraps; you can comment here or on my Facebook page, and I can give you the sourcing I used. (My problems with the wraps were mostly in the production; and the stickiness of the final product wasn’t right. AND I ruined my iron… so you should totally try it.)
Finally, if you come up with a viable product I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see pics. And maybe, because I am totally convinced that risking failure is completely worth it; I’ll give it another shot too. I hope I convinced you with these reasons why risking failure is worth it, too.
❤️ For more info on my commercial use policies check out the FYI page.
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2 thoughts on “4 Reasons Why Risking Failure is Worth It”
So so true, Jen! In the printing business, the first few (100’s sometimes!) prints are called “make ready” and are considered the time to adjust inks and controls to get the result they want for the rest of the run. Similarly, when l try a new craft technique, I may throw out my first few projects and consider them as practice pieces. Thanks for your encouraging words of wisdom!!
Oh I’m so glad you shared that! It’s good to remember that most businesses know not to expect perfection right away and we shouldn’t expect it of ourselves either!!!