Risk & Business Magazine JGS Insurance - Summer 2020 - Page 23

GAIN MORE SUCCESS 2. HAVE A FAILURE BUDGET Set aside money for failure? Am I joking? No, I’m not! Set aside money for failure. Maybe it sounds odd. But come up with a figure that you can use just to try random stuff. Assume it will fail! But try it anyway. Maybe $20 at an oyster bar, $200 for a boxing class, or $1,000 to go to a distant music festival. If it works for you to use an absolute number, great. That’s perfect. But if you’re not exactly a budgeter, I also have a mental model I use in my life that can be a simple way to think about this. It involves deciding what figure game you’re in. Call it the Number of Figures Game. Let me explain. When I was a kid and I started my first few websites, I was in the two-figure game. Ten dollars to buy a URL? Well, that expense was approved. But nothing else was! I knew I was in the two-figure game because I had no money. What was my failure budget? Anything that cost two figures. When I started 1000 Awesome Things, I moved to the three-figure game. I was a grown-up now. I had a job. I figured that if I wanted to try something, try anything, and it cost three figures or less—I would do it. These days my podcast 3 Books is an example of me spending my failure budget. I really wanted to make a podcast that was ad free, sponsor free, commercial free, and just a piece of beautiful art. To me, anyway. So I spend around $5,000 a year making it. Flying to interview guests, production costs, recording equipment. It’s a fourfigure “failure budget expense” that I love spending every year. Why? Because it’s vastly improved my learning rate, too. Can you keep moving up? Sure. How high can you go? Well, if you’re a hip-hop star or tech billionaire, maybe you’re in the sevenfigure game. The number depends on you. Your comfort level. Your risk tolerance. My goal isn’t to tell you how many figures you should plan to spend on failures. It’s to give you a mental model you can apply in your life to accelerate your loss rate and therefore accelerate your win rate. 3. COUNT YOUR LOSSES We always hear people say, “Count your blessings.” But you know what we never count? Our failures. Our losses. The times we hit the ground. When we look at our flops, we’re really giving ourselves credit for all the learning and stamina and resilience baked into those moments when we made ourselves a little stronger. One exercise we do in my family now is going around the dinner table every night playing a game called Rose, Rose, Thorn, Bud. Roses are gratitudes or highlights, thorns are flops or failures, and buds are things we’re looking forward to. Even though the research on gratitude points to writing down five things you’re grateful for as a path to a healthier mind and body, what we find is that including the ‘thorn’ in the practice actually helps us even more. Why? Because it helps us slowly work against the natural muscle of “less failure equals more success” and train our brains to find the lessons and learnings that come from defeat or setbacks. Counting up our losses and taking pride in our failures is really hard. Really, really hard. We are taught to hide failure, feel ashamed of it. And here we are talking about wearing them as badges of honor. What are some other ways to do it? If you keep a journal, try writing down your successes and your flops. Be honest, and count your failures as they happen. Be kind to yourself by giving yourself credit for each one. In a corporate setting, it means leaving the gaps on your resume or your LinkedIn profile. Even accentuating them by sharing your travels while you were between jobs or the six months you took off to be with your daughter after her second miscarriage. These failures, through the lens of a wise recruiter, actually strengthen who you are. This is really hard for most people to do. But people can’t tiptoe around all their past failed relationships when they get into a new one. I’m not saying they should lay them out on the first date like a display case of painted ceramics. We don’t want to confuse counting failures with plain poor judgment! What I’m saying is that once you’ve built trust in a relationship, then lay them out. Be honest and share what you learned from each one. So, yes, indeed, fail more, fail faster, fail better! Doing so helps us move forward by accelerating our learning rate and being more connected and honest. Now go use these three simple tactics to start. + Neil Pasricha is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Happiness Equation and The Book of Awesome series, which has been published in 10 countries, spent over five years on best-seller lists, and sold over a million copies. Pasricha is a Harvard MBA, one of the most popular TED speakers of all time, and after 10 years heading Leadership Development at Walmart he now serves as Director of The Institute for Global Happiness. He has dedicated the past 15 years of his life to developing leaders, creating global programs inside the world’s largest companies and speaking to hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. GlobalHappiness.com 23