I learned a new phrase from the one and only Seth that has lit my mind on fire and freed up my creativity: “Always be wrong.” (Expect this and much more in his highly anticipated new book, “This is Marketing,” which comes out next week.)
WHAT? Be…wrong? Are you kidding me?
That was my first reaction, anyway.
But here’s the deal, and it’s actually very freeing:
The idea is to be wrong all the time. To ship generously, and get it wrong. But to be getting it wrong from a posture of generosity and service. Coming from a posture of trying to serve. Showing up for people, for customers, with right heart and right intention to serve.
And then, take notes.
Take notes about where you’re wrong, learn the lesson, make it better, ship again.
We’ve given “wrong” a bad name. I don’t know about you, but I’ve grappled with this for a long time. We’ve all been trained that there is a right answer and that we have to have that answer. Looking for The One Answer to Rule Them All, when there are Many Possible Great Answers.
This often manifests as over-preparing, studying too much in advance, trying to reverse engineer it all up front.
Turns out, it’s much more efficient, faster, and simpler to make a generous attempt, be wrong, learn, and repeat. As long as it’s done with the right intention, it builds connection and trust with customers, with those I seek to serve.
But there is a simple fix: take the sting out of “wrong.” Make “wrong” a friend.
How? Two steps:
Step one: Give yourself permission to ‘always be wrong.’ If you do, and the market does, this is permission to get it wrong. Permission to stop endlessly preparing and trying to get it perfect from the jump. Freedom from trying to reverse engineer everything in advance and solve it all before you leap.
Step two: Pair ‘always be wrong’ with ‘always be learning.’ This is about cultivating a growth mindset (for more on how to do this, see Lesson 2 in my altMBA recap).
If you’re just wrong, but getting better and trying again, you’ll burn out. And that doesn’t serve you or those you seek to serve.
This isn’t permission to ship crap. Give it your best attempt. But it is permission to be imperfect and go anyway.
“Wrong” is the doorway to better, and what opens that door is saying “thank you.”
“Wrong” is the only place I get to be a learner and get better and grow.
“Wrong” is a wonderful place to visit. Just don’t stay there.