Success Is NEVER A Perfect Straight Line


Many church and ministry leaders are often too fearful of failure. We can be so paralyzed by it, that we fail to even act. Although when (or if) we eventually do act, we end up discovering that we've simply waited too long - and the opportunity for success has passed.

Author Anne Lamott, in her encouragement to authors, advises writing a "crappy first draft". Anne's point is that the key to successful writing is to first just get your thoughts on the paper and avoid trying to edit them while you are in the middle of writing them (something I am trying to avoid right now as I write this).

You won't find success and perfection on your "first draft". Doing something well and finding success will never be a perfectly straight line. It will always be fraught with speed bumps, adjustments, and restarts. It is a process. Therefore as a leader, don't wait to move ahead until you've achieved perfection- just simply take the next step and be willing to ship your program, resource or idea out of the door, even if it isn't perfect. Below are some thoughts that I have collected from 99u on the subject.

via 99u:

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman famously said, “If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” (Tweet This)

Failure isn’t fatal, yet many creatives get caught up trying to achieve perfection, often at the expense of innovation.

The author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future, Dorie Clark, urges us to stop believing that we have to be perfect:

Innovation of any sort entails risk and trying new things — and that mandates failure. A 100% success rate implies you’re not doing anything new at all… It’s not so much that you’re creating something (such as a product or service) that failed; it’s that you’re steadily improving a series of drafts.

Bestselling author Robert Greene recommends that the best time to move forward (and upward) is precisely when we do feel unprepared:

“Move before you are ready…Most people wait too long to go into action, generally out of fear. They want more money or better circumstances. you must go the opposite direction and move before you think you are ready. It is as if you are making it a little more difficult for yourself, deliberately creating obstacles in your path. But it is a law of power that your energy will always rise to the appropriate level. When you feel that you must work harder to get to your goal because you are not quite prepared, you are more alert and inventive. This venture has to succeed and so it will.”

Recognize that innovation requires failure. As paradoxical as it may seem: if you’re failing, you’re doing something right.

LeadershipBill ReichartComment