The first part of the quote, "You're only as good as you're willing to be bad" provokes a thought about the correlation between our willingness to be bad and our potential for greatness. This statement implies that our capacity for growth and improvement is directly tied to our readiness to perform at a level that isn’t there yet. It's a call to step out of our comfort zones and dare to be vulnerable and put something out there for others to see to become good. Seth Godin calls this “shipping.”
“The fact that you’re not going to be good at something or that you’re going to fail at something—that’s OK.” This second part of the quote reaffirms that it's perfectly fine to not excel at everything we try. Failure is an integral part of the learning process. It's through failing that we identify our weaknesses, learn from our mistakes, and improve. Stutman encourages us to embrace failure, rather than fear or evade it.
The quote concludes with, "because you're never going to get good unless you're willing to be bad." This statement reinforces the idea that mastery comes with practice, and practice often involves a lot less than perfect attempts. It's a reminder that everyone starts somewhere, and no one achieves greatness without first being less than stellar. It encourages us to persist and keep trying, even when we're not there yet. Attaching the word “draft” to work for me often helps me get over the hurdle of sharing something. I have learned that a "draft" is a great place to share initial work for feedback and get help cleaning things up.
Through his quote, Randall Stutman teaches us a valuable lesson about embracing failure and the process of learning. It's a lesson about patience, persistence, and the courage to try, fail, and try again. It's a mindset that can be applied to any area of life, whether it's learning a new skill, starting a new project, or stepping into a new role. This is a lesson that I wish I had learned when I was much younger, and used throughout my parenting journey as well.
So, the next time you find yourself fearing failure or doubting your abilities, remember Stutman's words. Try new things, be vulnerable to shipping your work, and with everything remember better is better.
NOTE: The image that was used to share the quote for this blog post was created in Canva. After searching for an image I wanted to use to go along with the quote and not finding one, I used the Magic Media Tool. It got me a lot closer to the image I had in my head than anything a search engine could show me. Below are three other images it generated too. If you haven’t experimented with image generation in AI, give it a try!