2021 is almost over. The end of the year is filled with annual pop culture traditions: Top 10 lists, "Best of" music debates, Spotify's Wrapped. In a few weeks, we'll all be scrambling to curate our Top Nine, the nine most memorable moments we shared on Instagram. That's right. You get to stunt on everybody not once but twice(!) by reliving—and reposting—your greatest wins of the year.
No pressure...but yeah, PRESSURE.
The end of the year is always a time of reflection. It's natural. With 2022 just around the corner, it's a good time to sit still, take stock and get introspective, baby. You're going to see a lot of posts, memes and hot takes about 20/20 vision, regrets and resolutions. As a textbook
Capricorn thinker over-thinker, I'm not impervious to this. It can be very therapeutic and revealing to take a trip down memory lane. So, consider yourself warned.
Last week, I saw a great Tweet from Selwyn Hinds that I wanted to share. If you don't know, Selwyn is a hip-hop veteran. The former Editor-in-Chief of The Source is one of the few hip-hop journalists to make the successful transition to Hollywood and he's now a writer/producer working on shows like The Twilight Zone.
Selwyn is winning as a multi-hyphenate. In fact, I interviewed him for my book. But behind the blue check and IMDB credits, he's had several set backs and let downs. "Our business has failure in its DNA. Whether that be studios or networks, with creative choices influenced by fear of failure in the market," he tweeted. "Or folks like you and I, who learn to survive in a world where 'no' is far more common than 'yes.'"
Even as a boss in hip-hop, he went through the Hollywood ringer (totally different worlds) and broke down his experiences a thread you should definitely read.
It got me to thinking about the idea of "failure". The act of failing doesn't make you a failure. It means you're in the game. You can't be on the field without that. Nobody—not one single human in the history of humankind—has won all the time. As a freelancer, I've lost count of how times things didn't work out. I've had countless story pitches be turned down, pilots I've shot or recorded that went nowhere, being ghosted by industry executives despite being a broken record of "just following up." I can't tell you how many times I've been THISCLOSE to signing a big, big, BIG deal...only to get the rug pulled out in the last hour. Aww sorry, our budgets got frozen. Oh, word? You're so great! We'll definitely keep in touch. Sure buddy, I'll believe it when I see it.
You'll never see this on social media. Unless we have a real h2h (heart-to-heart) or you read this newsletter, you'd probably never know it.
Every single creative person goes through this. Anyone who has ever taken a risk, gone outside of their comfort zone, or do something outside of the box goes through this.
You're going to see a lot of posts about wins in the next few weeks. Don't let yourself get down if you didn't accomplish what others consider to be Instagram-worthy. Not everyone got a book deal or signed a multimillion-dollar contract. It's okay if you didn't fly on a private jet, get a Birkin bag or take selfies with celebrities. You get to define what winning means to you. Maybe you quit a job that no longer served you. Maybe you joined a book club. Maybe you just got out of sweats and put on jeans once and dammit, that is a win. Guess what? I did only two out of three...
Don't compare yourself everyone else's highlight reel. You can learn as much—if not more—from your #fail than some arbitrary win. The pressure to fill nine little boxes shouldn't stop you.
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