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Posts Tagged ‘failure’

My husband and I are experimenting with new ways of handling childcare for the two monkeys and household responsibilities in lieu of a nanny. We’re trying longer days in school, and adding a day, plus hiring a dog walker for when I’m out of town, and asking my mother-in-law for some mid-week help.

It feels like we’re joining the juggle for the first time since the kids were born, and I’ll be honest, I’ve never been good at juggling. There are some things about our new arrangement that are working well and others that we’re struggling with. But one of the most difficult elements of the entire experiment is trying to keep perspective on this new arrangement as an experiment and not necessarily the answer.

After “the incident,” we decided to try this life without a nanny thing. We said we’d try it, see how we liked it, and then see what we needed to change. But now that we’re doing it, some strange kind of inertia keeps trying to take over and remind us that success is not an option. Instead of acknowledging what is and what is not working, we slip into defending our choice and making rationalizations about what’s going wrong. In truth, it’s too early to tell. But in fact, it’s hard not to feel like the no nanny lifestyle is already a done deal.

I see the same thing happening all the time in my company and the companies that we work with. A direction, once chosen, becomes set in stone as ‘the way we now do things,’ even if it was intended as a stopgap measure and not a final solution. A product launch, once it passes some early stage gates, moves forward, even in light of some later information that would point to cancelling the project.  A prototype, intended as a vehicle for learning, gets either canned or launched as is, because it’s judged as if it were the final execution of an idea.

Successful people become accustomed to succeeding. And that can sometimes get in the way of being open to learning though trial and error. But I’m finding that there are some things that I can’t learn any other way. It’s so easy to say, “Fail early to succeed sooner.” It’s much harder to actually let myself do it.

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