Fall Forward

In IT it’s common knowledge that when system changes are made, you should always have a backout plan. This way you can revert to a known good configuration or version should a failure occur.  However, this is not always desirable.  Let me explain…

Before changes are made in production, they are tested in a lower environment or lab space.  Tests should include processing the change, witnessing a successful update, use case validation and completing a roll back of the work done.  Here’s the thing though, a lower environment will never be 100% like production.  

In other words, production (like the real world) has many many more connections, systems and transactions than you’ll replicate in a lab.  Therefore, you have a chance of encountering a problem that was not witnessed in testing.  When this happens you have to decide, do you backout or fall forward? 

Sometimes the decision is easy – you have significant user impact and you need to end impact.  Backout your change pronto!  Other times the decision is not so easy.  There is minor or intermittent impact, and the change you made resolves a bigger problem or closes a risk.  In those cases, even though you could back out the change, it may be better to fall forward.

The reason I bring this up is because even though I have left my IT career behind, I’m fully in fall forward mode.  I have to be.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20 percent of small businesses fail within their first year.  By the end of the fifth year, roughly 50 percent of them will fail.  Starting a new business is wrought with failure. The learning curve is sharp, and you have to be persistent.  

So how do you succeed?!  

I can’t say this with full certainty yet, as I’m only just starting to live it, but here is what I expect.

  • Don’t take rejection personal.  Your service, your style, your approach may not gel for everyone so keep looking for your ideal client.
  • Be consistent.  Establish a routine and stick to it.  Evolve it as necessary, but don’t abandon it.
  • Learn to sell. Market yourself and your services.  Most importantly, know why you do what you do and why it is important.
  • Feel discomfort and proceed.  Whether that’s going on camera, public speaking, networking, or any form of self-promotion. Work through his discomfort so that you can say you gave it 100%. 
  • Educate yourself.  Find people who have succeeded in your field and learn from them. Figure out the next step for your business to grow, take it, and then find the next again. 

I’m prepared for this uphill battle, the coming rejection, the hard work, and eventually, the breakthrough. 

For the vast majority of us, this is the path to success.  So for any of you starting something new, I implore you to make connections, hustle and grind – right on through the initial failures.  Fall forward knowing that all of these failures are nothing more than mile markers and guideposts directing you toward your success!  

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