Stop Fearing Failure
Wisdom from Julia Child, David McCullough, and Ted Williams
“If we should fail?”
But screw your courage to the sticking-place,
And we’ll not fail.”
— William Shakespeare, 1606 (Macbeth)
We find her at a crossroads, as her husband Paul has been recalled from diplomatic service in Europe, and the two return to America and settle in Cambridge. The series follows her debut on television and the struggles with more traditional-minded executives to create the show she wanted.
In doing so, she’s creating something brand new — a new genre of television. There was no playbook, no set of standards. It could be a flop or a major success.
But Julia was fearless. Fearless in the same way she was in the kitchen.
Over time, one of her hallmarks was the mistakes she’d make on camera; her show was live-to-tape, meaning there weren’t parts edited out after she finished recording. She powered through for a half-hour, mistakes and all.
And there’s a lesson there.
In this clip from her PBS show, Julia Child takes us to task for what she calls “the awful American syndrome of fear of failure,” and provides some advice not just for leaders, but for anyone:
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