FailureFest event embraces the power of failure

Orhan McMillian

What would you do if you could not fail?

It’s a clichéd phrase repeated endlessly on coffee mugs and magnets, but Orhan McMillan, co-founder of FailureFest is seeking to direct that question to business owners and the community as a whole. As founder and managing partner of dezinsINTERACTIVE, McMillan understands the power of making mistakes. “I have failed many times, in fact, more than I am even comfortable talking about. But had I not had the opportunity of failure, would I have less opportunity to learn the best qualities of leadership and growth?”

It was not until after a life-altering accident that Orhan recognized how changing his relationship to failure was the only pathway towards long-term success. “I realized that the paralyzing fear of failure was actually holding me back, causing me to repeat actions that blocked from knowing the truth and therefore achieving true success. Once I accepted that failure did not define me and I released it, the stigma dissipated and the possibility of success was achievable,” said McMillan.

It’s time for all of us to change the stigma and embrace failure, that’s what FailureFest is all about. On Wednesday, Nov. 16, community and business leaders will discuss the power of failure. The event, which starts at 1pm, is part of the Baton Rouge Entrepreneurship Week in the Baton Rouge Community College Magnolia Theatre.

“As business owners, we are familiar with the process of goal setting, short-term and long-term planning, and financial forecasting. But what could we achieve if we began to plan for our next big fail, what if we integrated that into our company culture? What super successes could future entrepreneurs achieve if the conversation of failing was an accepted part of their early educational process?”

McMillan said he works with several non-profits whose common mission is to bring success and equality to the communities they serve, many of which are deemed failing. “Taking the shame out of a natural part of any journey is key, so I began to ask questions and redefine how I looked at failure, and if possible, figure out how others could benefit,” said McMillan. “I couldn’t help but question how we were defining what failure means, so that by simply changing the conversation from being about not succeeding to continuing down the path you believe in even when it’s hard, we can change the outcome.”

He said this question is a core principle of FailureFest.

According to organizers, FailureFest approaches failing as an unveiling of awareness of our underlying strength and adaptability, to learn to embrace adversities and harness their capacity to lead to greater well-being and resilience. “Failure hurts, it’s scary and painful, and no one can escape life’s curveballs,” he said.  “The key is to stay positive in the face of all challenges we may face in life, because there will always be challenges.”