Speaking at TEDx Peachtree: Become the Vessel

Towed Out to Sea

A few weeks ago, I blogged about needing to make ideas more palatable.

Well, this afternoon I have an opportunity to strut my stuff at TEDxPeachtree. I’ll be speaking about how we don’t need heroes, and that anyone can use influence to affect societal change (you can watch via livestream at 3:05 this afternoon).

I have been preparing this speech for months now. With good reason… More than 5000 people are expected to watch the event in person and via livestream.

LiveYourTalk Founder and Speaking Coach Jill Foster has been working with me to maximize this opportunity.
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Trepidation and Hope Before Grand Isle – #citizengulf

We begin our Citizen Effect Gulf Mission fact finding effort this morning by heading right into the eye of the storm – Grand Isle. As you can tell from our short video, there was a mix between trepidation and hope the night amongst the team before we set out.

In reality, none of us know what to expect. We can only hope to gain clarity and understanding, that a path to help the fishermen and those families and business affected becomes clear to us.

Afterwards, we head back to New Orleans for a meeting with the Greater New Orleans Foundation and Second Harvest New Orleans. The entire mission project is being aggregated on the Citizen Effect web site.

Fail Well

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~ Confucius

Koko Crater Trail

Many folks fail in business, and for a variety of reasons, some more common than others. In American business, particularly on the communications side, there’s a misperception that failure is bad. In fact, failure often creates the seeds of future success. Many, many people and brands demonstrate this, including Apple, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, etc., etc.

That’s why I’m thrilled to be a part of the When Failure and Criticism Are Public during DC Digital Capital Week on June 18th along with Jill Foster of Live Your Talk, Allyson Kapin of Rad Campaign, and Justin Thorp of Clearspring. It will be great to discuss failure in this setting, and ways to embrace it

A recent Paul Sloane article that Beth Kanter referred me to had one aspect of this down very well, the honorable failure. Sloane defines the honorable failure as an honest attempt at something new or different has been tried unsuccessfully.

I totally agree with this view. In fact, even successes offer lessons to be learned. I sold a company once. But a successful exit doesn’t mean it was a smashing success. In fact, many, many mistakes were made and some of them were public. I look at Livingston Communications as story book of lessons learned, good and bad that we can use to accelerate Zoetica’s success.

Where I really disagreed with Sloane was his labeling of the incompetent failure: People that fail for lack of effort or competence in standard operations. In this sense, while the person may not be right for the position, their decisions or lack of experience, in my opinion, actually engages in an honorable failure. Why? Because a failure can steer someone in the right direction, or a completely different one.

So I don’t deem dubbing someone’s failure as incompetent, regardless of how bad it was. Incompetence and such labeling continues a culture where we as a society are afraid of failure. Instead, I deem any failure an opportunity to learn a lesson or embark on a course correction. Whether we choose to pay attention to that lesson or direction is on us.

Experiential learning requires experience. And failure. Sometimes multiple failures. One of my favorite stories in the this vein came from Senator Mark Warner (R-VA), who founded Nextel. In a speech before the NVTC roughly ten years ago, he detailed how he failed as a lawyer and in two companies and in one point was massively in debt. He never gave up.

So, my friends, as the week begins, fail well.

Past Related Posts:

My Five Worst Professional Mistakes

Burying Negative News Stories and Posts

Confessions of a Start-up Junky

Keep. Moving. Forward!