Creative Transformation and the Fear to Fail

Fear if failureOne of the biggest hurdle to creative thinking and design thinking is the fear of failure. This is one key difference between the experience of so called ‘creatives’ and ‘engineers’ — creatives, during much of their training, have learned to disconnect from their ideas. This is not always true of course, just an observation.

As an artist or a designer or writer or any creative field — you have had to constantly deal with the feedback of others. In fact, your entire creative process and creative career relies on this engagement. Some people who you work with may not have had this kind of experience — go back and remember the first time one of your design professors told you that the 80 hours you put in resulted in a total piece of shit. At first it’s gut-wrenching, but quickly to develop the thick skin that comes with many creative professions. And this is the reality — well almost.

A common mistake is that people identify themselves with their idea and people identify ideas based on their messengers. Great ideas and terrible ideas can come from anywhere, but actually the only way to know if it’s a good idea or not is to test it. Another mistake some make is that they are fearful of failing — of being criticized, of being identified with their idea. Therefore even though they have a lot of smarts to contribute, they stay silent. This is not what we want. Teams that excel have everyone firing creatively, and when this flow state is achieved among oneself, it spreads to others and finally the whole team is in a flow state and this is the optimal state for startup teams.

Everyone is a creative. Everyone should have license to fail. Fear is only what you allow it to be. Be bold.