On Public Failure

Last night we cancelled our rooftop pool party and concert at the last minute.

We arrived and started setting up, and then the building management told us we couldn’t actually use the pool deck, even though we had rented the owner’s club, outside of which is the pool.  It came down to either miscommunication between the resident we were working with and the building management, or conflicting information from building management.  At that point it didn’t really matter, they weren’t letting us use the rooftop or the pool.  Just a small interior room.

I guess I’m handling it pretty well.  Certainly better than I would have not long ago, and I’m writing this to try to figure out why.

First of all, most of our guests were family, friends, and longtime fans.  Although there were a few new names on the list, the majority were known to us, and they understood that shit happens sometimes.  We went into damage control mode, emailing/texting/calling/posting like crazy to make sure we got in touch with every guest before they left for the party.  This morning I sent out a couple of unreleased remixes as an apology.

Second, although part of me feels like I just took a big old ankle-spraining fall on a busy sidewalk wearing four-inch heels, another part of me knows that in reality, nobody’s actually watching.  The older I get, the more I realize that everyone’s thinking about themselves, not me.  And when it comes to something like this, that knowledge is very freeing.

We’re doing new things and taking some risks.  In the big picture, we’re just trying to find our own path in the new music industry.  This is just part of the journey.  And really, it wasn’t a huge risk.  There are some unrecoupable costs, but nothing that’s going to bankrupt us.  There will be ups and downs, successes and failures.  That’s just the way it goes.

Last night, I started reading the book The Obstacle Is the Way.  I didn’t get far before falling asleep, but the gist of the book is to learn to turn obstacles into advantages.  Not just neutralize the negative; literally turn it upside down and make an advantage out of something that seems at first like a failure or an obstacle.

So I’m not sure how we’ll do that yet, but I feel a sense of power.  I suspect our next show will end up being bigger and better than last night’s show would have been.  Not sure why.  It could be that we’ll find a better venue.  Or that the promotion of this party will boost the next party too.  Or that if anyone IS actually talking about us, that the gossip will become publicity of its own.  Or maybe we’ll pair up with another band, or add dinner to the whole deal, or…?

I’ve been meditating lately, just ten minutes a day, a quick guided meditation using Headspace.  Maybe that’s why it all rolled off my back last night.  I know that an earlier version of me would have flipped out and not been able to come down all night.  Yes, I was stressed, and embarrassed, and a bit angry, but it didn’t ruin my night.  Life happens, and what are you going to do, let yourself get stuck?  Deal with what you can, treat people right, learn from it, and turn the obstacle into an advantage.