4 Ways to Turn Failure Into Your Friend
This post loosely accompanies Gab & Jam Episode 108 Failure is Your Friend
It occurred to us that, as an emerging band/brand/artist, we truly benefit from our failings. If not for having NOT gotten plucked from obscurity when we began and if not for having pitched meekly for nearly 3 decades, we would never have decided to do what we’re doing now. We would have never have decided to be bold and tenacious and as prolific as we are. It has been through things NOT working out that has made us bound and determined to change our approach, to change our rate of pitching and distributing, and to change our vision for ourselves and for our art. (If you are not familiar with our story, see http://bit.ly/allthethingsprej .)
In fact, no longer are we content to find people who can give us the record deal—the OLD standard of success—but now, we want to build something independent of ANY one company and where our tribe—music fans, paying brands, those inspired by our plans—can connect with us directly. We do not want to compromise on our message and on our creative vision in order to maintain any one relationship. And, actually, because we have changed our approach and pitch so freaking much, we have had the gumption to turn away several “opportunities” because they were not in line with our vision and did not meet our expectations as far as valuing our worth. —This NEVER would have happened in the past! —Now, after reassessing your idea of success for you and your art, then make a commitment to make failure your friend. (If you're not a member of our Facebook group, what's stopping you? http://bit.ly/diyrockstarjoin )
Here are 4 ways to take advantage of adversity:
1. Start again
It’s never too late to simply pick up the pieces of a failed pursuit and try putting it out into the universe again. Somehow, knowing that the worst that can happen is that they say “No” again, but if you try again—and litter the frigging universe with it THIS time—there is a good possibility SOMEONE will say “Yes.” For instance, we put a record out nearly 4 years ago, but we were timid with its promotion. Needless to say, we are not satisfied with the results. Because hardly anyone in the universe has heard it—and our musical style can NEVER be dated, since we don’t sound like any one time period—we have been resending individual songs out for new opportunities. And, yes, we have gotten some placements with these songs. If we had said to ourselves that trying once was enough, we would never have evidence to show that there is value out in this world for them. (Curious about our music? Check out our SoundCloud page at http://soundcloud.com/prejippie )
2. Pitch more
Even though we JUST mentioned it, sometimes just littering the sky with your work—instead of stingily pitching to one or two opportunities here and there—is the secret to your success. The fact that you are approaching so many people and sharing it on social media and sending it in for opportunities a few days EACH week will undoubtedly be the key to finding just the opening for your work. Think about it; auto insurance companies don’t send out only one commercial and schedule it for one time slot in one show. Instead, sometimes they decide to go REALLY big and even place more than one ad in each commercial break. They know that each time you, their potential consumer is more likely to remember and to ultimately purchase the product, the more you see/hear their commercial. The same is true with distributing your music; don’t be satisfied just getting it to one or two decision makers. Make sure that ANYONE within shouting range knows what you great creature you have created; especially those who can make an opportunity available to you. Needless to say, the more you pitch, the more you will find.
3. Grow thicker skin
There’s really no way around it; even if you’re dare I say it “perfect,” there is a GUARANTEE you that someone will dislike you for THAT! —Plus, truth be told, some of them don’t even like you now, so why NOT go on out and make your mark on the world?! Remember that the only reason it bothers you is because you feel like there’s some truth in it. Use that chatter to push you to get better in that area, so that those arms bounce right off you. —Also, you can’t let someone else determine your fate; that’s your ONLY job, so get to it!
4. Turn that flaw into your flow
And what if you’ve decided that lo-fi IS your sound. If that’s what you’re getting grief about—and maybe even rejections from bloggers, deejays, etc.—and you’re committed to keeping that as part of your art, then own it! Walk proudly with that. Even better, promote that sh*t! Let everybody know from here to the moon that you’re a “specialist” at this. And then, let it be. That’s why you are your own boss and work that day job to support your vision in the first place. If you were interested in overnight success, you would NOT be trying to figure this out on your own; you’d find the “hit makers” and hunker up to them. But you and I, my friend, are different and have some amount of I-want-to-do-whatever-I-think-is-best in us, which is why you are not in a rush to rip off the latest teenie bopper hit song and/or parade through Times Square naked while performing your song. What we’re trying to say is that there’s some quirky in our DNA that makes us just a little off-the-beaten path and makes us choose our art first over profit. It’s not that we don’t want profit, but that’s not the be all and end all; we have to be proud of what we do. So, if you realize that up front, you can save yourself the grief of second-guessing yourself and can use it as part of your promo; that you are a weird and wonderful creature.
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No, it doesn’t feel good to be rejected or insulted or, worse, simply ignored. But it’s hard to see how you can ever TRULY be successful without learning to deal with some—or all—of that. Even those creative people who achieve higher levels of success have critics, bosses, trolls, and days where doubt creeps in. However, if you just go back to the top of this list, you can more easily ride out of it.
Here is the final list of episodes (with topics, episode numbers, and links): http://bit.ly/blogvember2019
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What do you think?
What ways have worked for you to turn failure into your friend? Please share your experience in the comments below.
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