No Failure

Today’s new Quest 2016 prompt arrived in my inbox this morning, but like yesterday I snuck a peek at it last night. I am enjoying letting it percolate overnight as I sleep.

No Failure

Visionary: Debbie Millman

Your Quest2016 Prompt today:

How would you do business as unusual in 2016 if you knew – no matter what you chose – you would not fail?

And once again, though I wrote pages on the topic in my journal upon waking–more long lists of everything I would try, the answer changed during the time I got out of bed and when I arrived home after a more than 9 hour work day followed by errands to the grocery store and the bank. Because here’s the thing: For me, the only sure way to fail, regardless of our visionary’s promise, is to keep trying to do so many different things all at once…unless… (and this is an unless that I’ve been thinking about since at least last year’s quest)…

…unless I can find a way to combine them.

As it turns out, there is only one way to figure out how to transform the scattered  joys of my desiring into a cohesive whole, and that one way, is ( drumroll please)… trial and error. And that means there will be failures. Glorious, hilarious, heartbreaking failures. There have to be. Which means you can’t wave your hand and take them away from me.

And while we’re at it, in the year of percolation and experimentation that 2016 is fixing to become, the word business also has no business there–unless you’re talking about monkey business.  I will, however, take your unusual and raise you an ebullient, a sometimes slogging through quicksand, a pair of epiphanies and a very valuable Tracking Wonder for good measure.

And since my year of sequestered retreat from the world didn’t do much for my creativity–teaching me once again that great art abhors a vacuum–I have a four step plan for inviting failure to my house to play:

  1. Experiment wildly with my art in all its myriads of form and media
  2. Expand my horizons with travel (even if it’s just to go to the local coffee shop to write instead of hiding in my casita)
  3. Explore new sources of  inspiration–including the kind provided by spending time with interesting creative people
  4. Expose more of my work, my process, and myself to the world (yes, I went there)

So, I will do business as unusual by turning my office into a mad scientists lab, by forming an expedition to locate and embrace other members of my tribe (can we all just meet somewhere in the middle one of these days, please?), and by getting out of my head and back into the world. Which I’m pretty sure is a recipe that cannot fail. #nofailure

And one last thing, because all those unlesses have been rattling through my head and ricocheting around this singular quote from one of my absolutely most formative books.


This year, caring will look less like lecture and more like play.