Failing in public

It is no surprise to me that speaking in public is one of the things that people fear the most. I suspect it is because it combines two scary elements in one. If you mess up a speech, you don’t just fail – you fail in public.

I was asked an interesting question at a recent live mentoring session with Virgin StartUp by Will from Vitae London (he ended up going home with my watch – but that’s another story!)
He was worried that if his Indiegogo campaign didn’t do well, he would have failed in public, so was it worth the risk. I let him know that it absolutely was and he should go for it. You should never be worried about failing publicly, especially if you are an entrepreneur.

One always believes more people are paying attention than they are. In reality, for a startup, if your idea doesn’t work, not many people will have noticed. That’s the worst-case scenario. Once you’ve got over that, you can just push on to the next idea. Relax, have fun, and take calculated risks.
I’m a great believer in simply keeping on trying things, keeping on trying things until you find the one that works. You’ll keep falling flat on your face, but on the third or fourth time, you’ll find the right recipe for success.

Unless, of course, you let being worried about failing in public stop you in your tracks. Face failure head on, don’t be afraid of it, and the public will support and welcome you all the more for your openness.
I wonder how many people have been held back by the fear of failing in public? Don’t be one of them – embrace failure and learn from it.

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