Risky Business?

I recently discovered the psychological source of my problem with procrastination: I suffer from what-if-itis. Or in non-medical terms, I’m a scaredy cat.

I delay progress because of a simple series of thoughts that run through my mind before I get to work: “What happens if [title of creative/technical project] breaks? What do I do? What do I tell others? How do I not panic? What if [unrealistic problem that mostly won’t occur] occurs? What if?”

I can trace back this psychological syndrome to a few instances when technical failures were met with panic from leadership causing them to push, yell, and attempt to save face. With this response, the only logical way to act is to start yelling at the people beneath you, run around like a chicken with its head cut off, and pray that the problem fixes on reboot.

Surely there is a better way to embrace failure that does not scar people for life?

Embracing Failure With Timely Response

This morning, Craft & Vision gave away a free photography eBook and discovered a problem with their shopping cart. What did they do? They disabled the ordering process and left a simple note: “MESSAGE: THIS FREE DOWNLOAD IS TEMPORARILY ON HOLD. WE’RE WORKING OUT AN ISSUE WITH OUR SHOPPING CART. WE’RE SO SORRY. STAY TUNED 🙂 – CORWIN”

Internally, I’m sure they are scrambling to resolve the issue. There may be tense words. Frantic phone calls being made. But I expect the issue to be resolved shortly and chances are no one will be scarred in the process.

When something inevitably goes wrong, you can admit there is a problem and work hard to fix it, as fast as possible, with minimal collateral damage.

Or you can deny there is a problem. Yell at your employees. Kick the dog. Kick the can. Play a round of Angry Birds. Get some coffee. Get motivated. Find inspiration. Look in a tech catalog for a better solution. Read resumes of potential employees to replace the ones that screwed up. And realize your customers no longer care and don’t want your product or service anymore.

Business is risky.

Response is necessary.

Timely response is imperative.

The moral of the story

You can be a scaredy cat, but you still have to get the work done. Then, if and when the [life altering product or service] fails, you respond timely and fix the problem.