Failure is an option – celebrate it.

Here’s something to do at your next conference – talk about mistakes and failures you have made as you implemented your programs.

Why? Because: Learning

“Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.” – C. S. Lewis

Community Management is a young field of practice and many of us are still figuring things out, trying new things, experimenting. Experimentation is good, but can lead to…unexpected outcomes. Sharing those outcomes can save someone that same path, or it may be the inspiration to try something similar but in a way that has a better result.

“Failure is success in progress” – Albert Einstein

I often tell my children that the most amazing thing about the scientific process is its acceptance that failure is a part of the act of testing your hypothesis; it can lead to new and unexpected discoveries and become a new base to build upon. If you aren’t experimenting, you aren’t learning. If you aren’t sharing, you aren’t helping others learn.

“Success is not build on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” -Sumner Redstone

But at a conference?

A few years ago Cass Phillips put on a series of conferences called FailCon whose motto was “Embrace Your Mistakes. Build Your Success.” It was such a refreshing experience and, honestly, the impetus for this post. I ran across my notes from it and realized what a great idea it was.

“Do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.” – Richard Branson

Every other conference I have ever attended, correctly, focus on those successful programs. That is amazingly valuable and one of the main reasons to go to a conference. They give you the tricks to take back to your organization and consider. But it could be a nice break to share what hasn’t worked, what hasn’t been successful, both as a way to give back to your community of practice and as a bit of a palate cleanser. I also expect it’s easier to share in person rather than writing it up and post it your blog.

I imagine a gentle mix of presentation and group therapy session where everyone is invited to get up and share after an introduction and an initial offering by the moderator.

“I fell off my pink cloud with a thud.” – Elizabeth Taylor

What might you share?