How to Deal With the F-Word

by Annie

in motivate schmotivate

Red Circular Failure Stamp on White Background

Labels disable! Process your past failures and avoid making the same mistakes again...

Last week, Ashley Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project blew up Erika Napoletano’s Redhead Writing blog.

I’m not being mean – that’s what Erika herself said the next day. “Blew it up” in a good way, of course.

Ashley’s post is all about the F-word. Or, rather, it’s about times in life when we feel like the big fat F-word.

No, not that F-word.


Ew, it just looks ugly, doesn’t it?

Ashley’s story had a happy ending. She created an ebook and sold it to her peeps online and got over the wolves-baying-at-the-door moment. (Well, to be accurate, she sold an ebook, then she wrote it… freaking genius.)

That post resonated to the core of me. Rang me like a bell. Because I’ve been there, too, and …

Well. Ashley sold 100 that first day?

I sold four.


Pardon me while I go peel myself off the floor now …

But it taught me a lot. (Isn’t that what we always say when we’re trying to grin through the pain?)

In this case, it happens to be true. I did learn a lot. I learned not to write shitty e-books. I learned not to target an ebook too narrowly — Twitter for Cardiothoracic Surgeons? Not such a hot topic, apparently. (No, it really wasn’t that.) And I learned to give the people what they want, not what I want them to want.

In short, it was a big fat failure. But — and this is the important part — that does not equate to I AM A BIG FAT FAILURE. It doesn’t even equate to I WAS A BIG FAT FAILURE.

The experiment failed. It just sucked. For all the reasons stated and probably a few dozen more I’m not even aware of.

Now, here’s the interesting part. Time was, in my life, I would have obsessed over that failure for years. I mean it – that’s not hyperbole. YEARS OF MY LIFE would have been wasted mental energy thrown all over something that took less than 30 days to put together and put out there and yank back again (’cause it sucked, is why…).

Nowadays, things are a bit different. These days, I have learned, at long last, to process my failures and move the hell on.

Why? ‘Cause it takes a LOT less energy than obsessing about it for eons. Turns out, it’s much more productive, too. (But that was just an unexpected bonus.)

And as we all know, I am all about the saving of the energy and the time.

Processing failure means simply this:

  1. Debrief it    AND THEN
  2. Delete it

That’s it.

DEBRIEF it means simply this: figure out what went wrong. Where you went off course. What you could do better next time.

DELETE it means just that. Throw the crap away. Keep the fruits of the debriefing, of course, because that’s what’s gonna keep you from making the same mistake next time. (No, my friend, YOU will make brand NEW mistakes next time! WO0T!)

Keep on obsessing over it and you know what that makes you? Stuck, is what. Paralyzed by an inability to move the hell on. It’s wasteful, and it’s unproductive, and it makes you feel like crap.

So don’t DO that anymore.

Processing failure is essential to forward movement. What can you process today so you can lighten your load?

For myself, I herewith resolve to process my crap related to the big huge failure of my business life about four years ago and move.The.Hell.ON.Dammit.

What about you?


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Armstrong July 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm

OK, I’m totally following this advice.

And I’m right there with you on the “total lack of ebooks sold” front. I think Psychotic Resumes has been sold like… 10 times, and of those 10, 7 were given away.

Nick Armstrong recently posted..And the horse you rode in on…


Annie July 25, 2012 at 7:59 pm

OK, this sounds bad, but I feel better.


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