The Governator’s secret to winning at email

I’ve been ruminating on the Arnold Schwarzenegger clip I shared earlier this week.

All the books, audios, and courses I’ve ingested have more or less turned my brain into a search bar for self-help content.  Re: Arnie’s comment on it being ok to fail, the software of my memory turned up this little ditty…

I recall someone saying that the most remarkable thing about Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, was his ability to laugh about failure.

Whenever one of their initiatives flopped, and many did, he’d get a wry smile on his face, shake his head and go “wow that really didn’t work.”

Then he’d simply say “what next?”

During my brief stint in stand-up comedy, I wrote pages full of set ups and punchlines.  I quickly realized about 10% of it was funny.  The catch is the only way to know which 10% is to stand in front of people and let 90% of your stuff bomb.  Do that ten times and you wind up with five minutes of material that will do reasonably well with most audiences.

Call it accelerated failing.

That’s the great thing about email.  As a format, it’s very forgiving.  Most emails aren’t runaway successes.  Some might not resonate.  But there’s always the next one.  And if you have even a tiny bit of good will built up with your reader, they’ll quickly forget about any duds.

The only way you lose is if you stop.

Going back to the comedy thing for a moment, there were many times a joke landed and all I got back were crickets.  It never occurred to me those could be reasons to stop.  I just figured that was the process.

In fact, I’ll go you one further…

I embrace failing.

Because the more I fail, the smarter I get.

Besides, if that’s your approach, and every attempt results in either a win or a lesson…

Do we ever truly fail?

Happy Failing,

Conor Kelly

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