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Laura Petrolino

How to Fail at Writing a Post for the New Year

By: Laura Petrolino | January 2, 2014 | 
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How To Fail at Writing a New Year's PostBy Laura Petrolino

When I found out I was the one who was going to write the very first Spin Sucks post of the year, I obviously was ridiculously excited (and nervous)!

This was a huge responsibility!!!

So, I decided I was going to write the most gosh darn inspirational New Year’s post to ever be written in the history of New Year’s posts.

My goal was to make you, our amazing Spin Sucks community, weep with joy.

And then, be so inspired and motivated to accomplish great things that for years later we would be hearing of your many amazing successes (Nobel Peace prizes, cures for cancer, teleportation devices, you name it).

And how they all stemmed from MY 2014 New Year’s post.

This was going to be amazing!!!

AMAZING!

I sat down (Ok, I didn’t sit. I stand to work, so I stood) to dig deep into my “vault o’ inspiration” and pull out something awesometastically fantastic for you all (and of course it would include many made up words such as “awesometastically”).

Bringing You an Inspirational New Year’s Post

We are talking super-sized inspiration here, folks. Take the best TEDx talk ever, add in a little Dali Lama, a dash of Abe Lincoln, a teaspoon of Vince Lombardi, then put some Peter Drucker sprinkles on top for the added business angle.

That’s what you were about to get.

But Inspiration Left

Unfortunately, I got really hungry (as I often do) and took a break to eat something. When I came back, my inspiration vault had decided to suddenly close.

I panicked! This was my big chance and now I had nothing — zip, nada, nil inspiration to share.

Trying to remain calm, I went through all the common methods I employ when needing to produce my highest quality work. I did burpees and push ups. I sang and danced around to Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff songs, I dressed up my cat and dog in several of the different ridiculous costumes I have for them. I dressed myself up in several of the ridiculous costumes I have.

Nothing.

Let’s Crowdsource!

So, at a loss for what to do next I did what any other communications professional would do. I turned to Facebook to crowdsource. I asked everyone to contribute five names of people who had changed their life during 2013 in some way, big or small.

I was so proud of myself with this idea. YES! THIS was going to be inspirational. I’d gather up all of these names and then write a post about how we all affect people’s lives everyday, whether we know it or not, and how average, ordinary people can have a huge affect on the world.

You know the drill.

But, I’m not sure if my request was just too gosh darn deep for a Sunday morning, or you all didn’t appreciate the cute picture of a baby panda I posted as a ploy for participation, but only a handful of people contributed their names.

Foiled again! Sigh, back to square one (p.s. for those that did participate, hold on to your hats because I’m not done with this idea yet).

This led me to the next obvious solution. When in doubt, Google it out! And that, folks, is precisely what I did. I typed in “New Year’s Inspiration,” and came to a page with lots of quotes. One of my favorite quotes came up from Neil Gaiman:

I hope in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Geez, thanks Neil, what are you trying to tell me here exactly? Yes, I know I’m bombing this post, but please have some compassion!

He continues:

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

You can listen to the entire speech here.

And that, folks, is what I’ll leave you with as we all journey into this fresh new year.

Like every year, 2014 is full of awesome and scary possibilities. It’s bursting with both successes and failures just waiting to be experienced. Like my intentions for this post, more often than not things won’t necessarily turn out exactly how you might have planned.

Often they turn out better. The rest of the time, they just turn out different. So go out there and fail like a champ, because in the long run, that’s probably the best thing you can do for yourself, your business, your customers, and the world in general.

And that is your official 2014 Spin Sucks pep talk! Go team, GOOOO!

About Laura Petrolino


Laura Petrolino is client services director at Arment Dietrich. She is also a ninja. When not working with clients, collaborating with the Arment Dietrich team, or practicing her roundkicks, you can find her walking her dog, working out, or exploring the great outdoors.

98 comments
JoeCardillo
JoeCardillo

Nice one Laura. I think we are all pretty psyched now. 

I don't really do resolutions, but I often pick 2-3 words/things I want to better include in my life. One of this year's is Grace. So we'll see how that goes. 

Any words in mind for your 2014? Other than, say, PetroPower and Ninjamaniac  = )

kaitlynworkman
kaitlynworkman

I was seriously wondering where you were going with that post... UNTIL I read the quote (which I also love, by the way) you totally surprised me in your turnaround. :) What an appropriate post for starting a new year of piles o' failure topped with the occasional success! Cheers (and burpees) to 2014!

lkpetrolino
lkpetrolino

@jhirz Wow! What an endorsement! ;-) Thanks Jeff! Cheers to a fantastic 2014!

aimeelwest
aimeelwest

Lovin' this post! I have been working on starting a blog post and well it is not going as smoothly as I would like... ah well. But I will get there! I will win the Nobel Peace prize for best written blog!! Yes I know that is not how you normally win the Noble Peace prize but my blog will inspire people and world peace will come about because of it. 


Wait maybe that is a bit much. How about I just hope people will read it. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

I love love love this post. I am a HUGE believer of finding the silver lining/everything happens for a reason style of thinking. And I also believe one can create content - in your case a blog post - out of the smallest and/or seemingly most inconsequential nuggets of information. I once wrote a post that was wholly based around an early morning conversation about the Sesame Street phone martians. *yip yip yip yip* BRRRRIIIIINNNGGG!!! 


Seriously. It remains one of my all time favourite pieces. You wrote a knockout post Laura. Petropower indeed!!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTc3PsW5ghQ

stevesonn
stevesonn

Very inspirational @LauraPetrolino! I also like the reminder that Google is a great safety net: "When in doubt, Google it out!"

JRHalloran
JRHalloran

Well, regardless of what you may think, I still thought your post was inspirational. 

That quote is probably the best one I heard yet. (I'm going to share it on Twitter in a moment.) It's so simple and true, poetic and wise. 

"I hope in this year to come, you make mistakes..." all simply because it means we done something. 

I'm sure everyone feels the same this time of year when we finally think about the personal goals we've accomplished and realize with sadness we haven't accomplished that much (or any at all). 

Making mistakes is tangible proof we've tried. Our only gift of consciousness that our year wasn't wasted.


susancellura
susancellura

This is awesome, @LauraPetrolino! And so very true. I actually try to teach my daughter this as she can get frustrated if something doesn't turn out absolutely perfect the first time. Try, try again!

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@JoeCardillo Grace is quite ambitious for sure Joe! I actually do that as well. I first got the idea from a post Chris Brogan did, but I do it slightly differently and pick one or two words and then use them as my anchors for my priorities of that year. My word this year is vibrance. 


I also pick one or two quotes or phrases that really resonate, but I do that quarterly.


I think the simplicity of the single words is really powerful in helping to focus intention and energy.

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@kaitlynworkman HAHAHAHA! "Cheers and burpees to 2014", is my favorite New Year's greeting now! I thought about doing 2014 burpees as some sort of symbol of the new year.....and then I realized I would die, so that idea went to the back of the line and I did two and just multiplied. Math saves lives! 


LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@aimeelwest um.....Aimee, you are commenting on my blog post, do you really think the words, 'wait maybe that is a bit much', translate here?


NO! Congrats on your Noble Peace Prize! 

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@belllindsay You know it means galaxies to me to have you say that! AND then you posted one of my fav Sesame Street clips! This is a gold star comment right here! 

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@JRHalloran Well thank you sir! But I will say that I think sometimes people have a tendency to want to measure progress by big, huge milestones and life changing events, when really it's in the details, the little day to day things that the magic happens. 


I started a practice when I was in high school (believe it or not, based on something I saw on Oprah!) that at the end of each day I write down 5 things from that day I'm grateful for and 5 things that I did to make a difference. It totally transformed the way I view my goals and priorities in life. When you do this, you truly see that it's the little things that mean the most. 

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@briantudor @LauraPetrolino Would you expect anything less from me than mad woman ramblings Brian? I mean, let's be real here!  :) But thank you! And I love that quote "mistakes are a moral imperative for learning". You can include that in the comic book series you will make about the Adventures of PetroPower. Well done!

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@susancellura @LauraPetrolino That's so great Susan! I think that's one of the things I'm most grateful that my parents instilled in my, to just go out and try. Sure, I've crashed head first into disaster many times as a result, but I learned to pick myself up, dust myself off, figure out what worked and what didn't and do it again! 

LauraPetrolino
LauraPetrolino

@lizreusswig @LauraPetrolino For serious? I made print out status? Heck yeah, next thing you know I'll be up on the fridge, then I'll know I've made it!!! :) 


And how much do I love that you just quoted Of Mice and Men!! Now I can say Steinbeck made a cameo too! 

aimeelwest
aimeelwest

@LauraPetrolino haha you are correct! Oh I can't wait to do the speech it will be soooo long the music will play FOREVER before I step down. 

Howie Goldfarb
Howie Goldfarb

@LauraPetrolino@stevesonnahem. It is not Google. That makes it sound like it is some minor tool to be used vs The Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe. It is The Google. Please refer to The Google in the proper manner. People way more high profile than yourselves have disappeared mysteriously from such errors. And don't think The Twitter can save you either.