You may or may not know that I’m a big football fan. I played in high school and before I blew my knee out, I was pretty sure I was going to play college football. I’ve always loved football movies. Everything from Rudy to The Program to Friday Night Lights. But one of my all time faves is still Any Given Sunday. I love Al Pacino and this is one of my favorite performances of his. There is one particular line in the movie that I love and that I have a tendency to hang my hat on.
“If you make mistakes, make them big. I won’t eat your lunch for that.”
I’ve always loved that idea. Don’t half-ass things. Don’t move half speed. Throw yourself at everything with everything you have. Fail and fail big.
Why? Why would I suggest that you ruin your life? Obviously when you make mistakes, no one will trust you anymore and you’ll die alone and penniless, right? No. The fact is that everyone who’s important will respect you more for betting everything you have on black rather than investing in a mutual fund. People trust people who are worth it. You need to be worth it. Being worth it is about being able to risk things. I’m not saying that you need to risk your mortgage or your kids college fund. When it comes down to it, that’s not what you’re really afraid of. It’s not.
People are not actually as afraid of losing money as they say they are. People say that they can’t risk losing money on a venture. That’s not what they’re REALLY afraid of. People are afraid of people thinking they’re stupid. People are afraid of looking like they’re a failure. That’s what people are really afraid of. They’re afraid that the blew their shot. But almost every founder had a half-dozen awful ideas before they finally had the one that made it. People that have faith in themselves have faith that AN idea will make it. They treat EVERY idea like it’s THAT idea.
Look, you might have a good idea. It might even be a great idea. And it still might not fly. It might be the wrong time. It might be too early, or it might be too late. You might not have the tools you need or the network you need. It might just be a straight up bad idea. But innovation happens when you’re willing to see a mistake all the way through. Make them. Make them big. You’ll get there.