Creative Condition
March 11, 2021

We should not confuse embarrassment with failure.

Open Reference

I was watching a coach explain how he lost a fight. He was coaching students at a martial arts event, and they were doing well. Last-minute, he jumped in the ring to take on a bout, a points-based fight. He lost.

His reason for failure started in his head and ended with a spinning jump kick attempt, which landed him on his back.

Afterward, as a coach, he could watch the video and see all the things he was doing wrong. But when he was fighting, he didn't have his coach. There was no one in his corner to get him out of his head.

For him, failure was in his mind first, and that defeat in his mind created a loss in his fight.

He shared his failure, and this revealed him to be a dedicated teacher.

There is a coach vs. athlete's dynamic, and the pressure that comes as a kind of imposter syndrome where the coach feels like they have to prove they are still skilled. But we need coaches, and depending on where you are on the path, embracing the role of a coach can positively change others' lives. To coach doesn't mean you stop one's practice, but you may stop competing in the same way at the same level.

Another obvious takeaway - clear failure is helpful.

Rules are made up in sport fighting, the limits of what's allowed are artificial, and that's good; we don't want a fight to the death because then you can't fail.  Still, in a fight, if you get hit, you get hit. Boundaries and limits are physical and seeable.

In the creative and entrepreneurship world, failure is often framed as good, "you want to fail fast." But the type of failure can be fuzzy. Leaders go further when they define the kind of failure they can accept.

We should not confuse embarrassment with failure.
And if possible, we should be clear about our failure so we can learn.

If you try a jump spinning kick, don't do it while you're tired.
And if you do, and you lose, get back up.

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