How James almost ruined Christmas

Also called “You’re gonna make mistakes, get over it.”

Let me tell you a little story (remember, I said I’m a Storyteller): On Thursday (Nov 29, ’12), we hosted a PhilanthroFest 2013 Launch Party at CCE Miami. It was a pretty big deal and we were expecting around 200 people, as well as some VIPs and such. So, I showed up to set up and…

Well, for those of you who are event producers or promoters, what is your worst fear? For those that are not, take a guess at what an event producer’s worst fear might be. Got it? The answer is, you show up to the venue and they have no idea what you are talking about.

Yup, that’s pretty much what happened to me. At some point weeks before the event, I was supposed to sign a contract with the venue and with all that was going on, I totally forgot. As many of you know, in addition to PhilanthroFest, I also run Life Is Art and Soul Of Miami. The Art Basel time is, by far, the biggest time of the year for Soul Of Miami because we produce a massive guide to everything going on. Plus, I was working on getting Life Is Art ramped up for 2013. So, with everything going on, I just spaced it.

Get it? We nearly did not have an event that night because I screwed up big time.

Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. The site owner was quite accommodating and allowed me to sign the contract right then. A hurried call to our awesome insurance broker got us event insurance in an hour! And, we had an awesome event, though I was a little ragged for the first hour or so.

So, why am I telling you that I am a collossal screw up? Because it is important to understand that I know it, but it does not stop me.

One of my (many) hats is as business coach. I help train people to make a living doing what they love. Because of that, I spend a lot of time just talking to people in social settings about why they aren’t doing what they want to do. Why are they slaving away in a box making money for someone else? The vast majority are just plain out terrified of screwing up, of making mistakes, of being wrong, and that petrifies them, keeping them from doing anything.

This is what is so important. You are going to screw up. Get over it. The above example is not even remotely the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Not even close. Yet, here I am, still doing my thing.

What separates me and those like me from the people who stay in their boxes? It is not that we are fearless, it is not that we don’t think we make mistakes, it is certainly not that we do not make mistakes. The big difference is that we understand it is better to make the attempt and take the chance and make those mistakes than to never attempt at all. What sets us apart is that we keep going even after we stumble and fall. We keep going despite the fact that we know we are going to stumble and fall again.

Here is a quick analogy. You and I are playing Basketball. I shoot the ball ten times and miss nine times. You shoot the ball zero times and miss zero times. Who wins? I failed nine times and you failed zero times. Wow, you failed nine shots less than me! I’m a nine time failure. You must have won because you failed no shots, right?

Well, I think you get the point. One key to success is not the number of times you fail, it is the number of times you recover and move on. The only true failure is the failure to make the attempt. Any other mistake, as long as you learn from it and keep moving forward, is not a failure, it is just part of the journey to the goal.

3 responses to “How James almost ruined Christmas

  1. What’s that quote from Einstein or whoever? Screwups are a road to success…we all have them. You are awesome James..and great to be so open.xoxo

  2. Some people see problems as obstacles, others as barriers. The former group excels excessively in comparison to the latter.

  3. That’s why I like the double meaning of the word “Crisis” which in Japanese also means “Opportunity “. “So, depending on how we approach a challenge on the road, it’s what ultimately determines the outcome. Plus the fact, that these little things guide us to think outside of the box, and be creative. Who knows? That could be the best thing to happen to us. 🙂

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