Perspective on failure

There’s a phrase that’s become quite popular in the last several years …

Failure is not an option.

Really? Are you a human being like I am? Then failure isn’t just an option, it’s a slam-dunk certainty.

Now, let me be clear. I don’t mean that you will always fail at everything you attempt. Of course not. People are capable of amazing achievements, but only when they put failure into the right perspective. Failure will happen. And the more successful you are, the more frequently you will fail.

You see, the reason I don’t like “failure is not an option” is because of something I heard from Zig Ziglar years ago.

Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly … until you learn to do it well.

Now there’s the point of view that makes the most sense to me. You have to learn to fail in order to learn to succeed. Otherwise, the first time you fail you think it’s all over. It’s not. It’s how you react to failure that makes the difference between never reaching your goal and eventually reaching it.

Why am I talking about failure so much? Because our lives in voiceover are filled with failure.

Filled with failure? Prove it.


Do you book everything you audition for? Do you get work from everyone you contact about doing voiceover work? Do I really need to ask any more questions?

My friend Pam Tierney wrote a blog post the other day called Falling that captures the essential truth of what I’m trying to say. Put your failures into perspective. Your voiceover business doesn’t rise or fall on any single failure. Nor any single success. This is not a sprint. We’re in this for the long run. Learn from each failure then put it behind you and move on. Stay with it. Keep moving. Make some kind of progress every day. You’ll get there.


  1. Thank you. Just what I needed right this very minute!
    :0) Amy

    Comment by Amy Snively — June 15, 2011 @ 12:35 am

  2. Very timely here too, Bob. Literally and metaphorically. Thank you for your post, and also for the link to Pam Tierney’s blog. VERY much appreciated!

    Comment by Donna Postel — June 15, 2011 @ 8:05 am

  3. Thank you.

    Comment by Debbe Hirrata — June 15, 2011 @ 10:02 am

  4. …actually a comfort as i’m sitting in the studio today with no assignments, prospects, or phone calls…working on assembling my next push outward.

    my favorite charlie brown bit is his reaction to linus saying that we learn something from every failure: “That must make me the smartest person in the world!!!”

    thank you for the help yesterday, and the inspiration to put it to use today.

    Comment by Rowell Gormon — June 15, 2011 @ 11:13 am

  5. Boy….I have failed so much…I must be due for something good.

    Comment by Steve Scellick — June 15, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  6. Agreed, very timely post. Thanks for sharing this, Bob. It’s just what I needed to hear!

    Comment by Michelle Ann Dunphy — June 15, 2011 @ 1:14 pm

  7. Wow Bob, you struck a chord with this one – and chiming in with everyone else – just what I needed to hear. Thanks!

    Comment by Andrea Christensen — June 15, 2011 @ 3:55 pm

  8. Excelling post Bob. This is the kind of wisdom I’ll be delighted to pass onto to others who are struggling and frustrated with their success rate to date, whether it be professionally to colleagues in the world of voice over acting or to friends in times of need in their personal lives. Thanks!

    Comment by Darragh — June 19, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

  9. “Success is being able to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” Winston S. Churchill

    Comment by Jack — June 20, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

  10. Motivational and Inspirational! I try to forget about those “failures” and keep on pluggin’ away 🙂

    Comment by VoiceOverCat — June 23, 2011 @ 2:46 pm

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