How To Handle Failure Better Than Mariah Carey

Episode 15

What can we learn from Mariah Carey’s failure on New Year's Eve?

I think there’s three different things that we can take away. The first thing is that you need to be prepared. You need to get everything together and be prepared, that when you go on the big stage, you’re going to give it your best shot.

Second thing is, don’t give up. Even if things are going bad, even if you can see that you’re not performing up to the task, don’t give up. Continue going forward, continue putting your best effort forward.

Number three is really embrace it as a learning opportunity, to get better and to grow your business and to learn from those mistakes that you’ve made, because we’re all going to make more mistakes in the future.

Thanks for listening to this episode of The Stretch Goals Podcast! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode and answer any questions.

Find us on Twitter @The_Scott_Davis or @RobDickersonJr

Transcript

Robert: This is a Stretch Goals Quick Hitter, and in this episode, Scott and I are going to talk about how not to fail like Mariah Carey did.

This is the Stretch Goals podcast, where each week, we’ll share insights and lessons learned based on our experiences as entrepreneurs. We’ll challenge to create ambitious goals as you start and grow your business. I’m your host, Robert Dickerson.

Scott: And I’m Scott Davis. Yeah, that was pretty bad. That was pretty bad.

Robert: What was bad?

Scott: Mariah Carey, not your intro. Mariah Carey, New Year’s Eve, I’m sure you all saw it.

Robert: That was bad. It was embarrassing. I was embarrassed.

Scott: Yeah, and this isn’t the first time. Last year, at the Rockefeller Christmas tree, Christmas lighting, she sang a song or two and did basically the same exact thing. Was all off-key, decided not to sing. It was pretty embarrassing.

My wife and I watched New Year’s Eve just so we could see how she was going to do, and she did worse. We didn’t think it was possible. It was pretty bad.

Robert: For those of you that didn’t see it, we’re talking about Mariah Carey on New Year’s Eve, when she performed right before midnight.

Scott: Live on TV.

Robert: She was supposed to lip sing, and supposedly, her ear piece went out. She couldn’t hear the song, and so she just walked around and made a bunch of comments.

Scott: Yeah. Actually, so, she was supposed to lip-sing one, actually sing a second, and then lip-sing a third. Two lip-sing tracks and one actual track, but yeah. She blamed it all on failed monitors and failed earpiece, and tried to sing a couple of notes and was horribly off-tune. Just bad. Yeah.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say she’s no longer at her prime, it is what it is, every person in their life will come to that. Can she still sing in the studio better than most people? Probably absolutely so. I’m 90% certain of that, but maybe live singing is no longer her thing. It was a disaster, it was a train wreck, and the point of this podcast, today, though, is what to do you when you’re in that situation? How do you turn that into an opportunity, or how do you fail gracefully instead of just giving up in front of everybody?

Robert: Well, I mean, do you think that she recovered from that well?

Scott: No.

Robert: Because I guess she sent out a couple Tweets and …

Scott: No. I don’t believe anything she’s saying. She’s blaming people, and that’s not the way to recover.

Robert: Well, the first thing is, should she have quit? Should she have just walked off stage and even while she was performing, started to blame different things, or should she just kind of run with it?

Scott: I would have run with it and let it be bad, and everyone would have figured out, “Oh, it’s the audio’s off, something’s not right.” That would have been it. But when you just … she brought attention to herself by acting like a child onstage. I mean, that’s the problem.

Robert: I was thinking during the whole time is, why doesn’t she just start singing? Even if it doesn’t match the music, at least people would think, “Oh, there’s some technical difficulty. She can’t hear,” right?

Scott: She could have sang “Auld Lang Syne,” you know, and everyone would have been fricking happy. Or even “Jingle Bells.” You’re right, but she did try to sing at one point, during the second song, where she was actually supposed to sing. She dropped four or five words, and they were like", it was so bad. She was dancing next to a guy, and he even looked at her like, “What was that?”

But yeah, you’re right. She should have absolutely done something. What she did was, she basically gave up, and basically said, “I can’t do this without the pieces I need,” but we face that every day in business. Somebody’s not here at work today, or a system’s broke. You don’t just give up, you do what you can to work through it.

Robert: Some people do. Some people give up.

Scott: Some people do. Some people do.

Robert: They say, “Wait for tomorrow. Until they get back.”

Scott: Right. Don’t put out the fire, just let it burn. It’ll eventually go out. But that’s the thing, right? In my opinion, she gave up, and she shouldn’t have. Now she’s blaming people, and that’s my opinion. Whether that’s the case or not, I could be way wrong. But I think she should have powered through it. She should have done something. I would have been like, “Hey, audio guys, cut the sound. Let me sing a capella.” You know? Something is better than what she did.

Robert: Right. I think as founders and people starting our own businesses, we need to embrace failure and use it as a learning opportunity, to learn from our mistakes and be able to create opportunities for yourself, because I’ve failed numerous times and I will continue to do it, I’m sure.

Scott: What’s interesting about that is I see it every day, like with my kids. They fail at simple things that we’ve done billions of times, and I’ll look at them, and I’m like, “Man, you’re learning. You have to make that mistake, and I have to let you make that mistake so that you learn how not to do that.”

I think that’s what Mariah has learned, hopefully, is that number one, you need to have a back up plan if you’re lip-singing. The second point of it is maybe, maybe singing in front of a live crowd’s not your thing any more. You need to look at other opportunities or re-train yourself to be prepared for that scenario. Don’t just expect to show up and be Mariah of the 90’s again.

Robert: I think that would be interesting to know is how much time she prepped and prepared. It sounded like there was none, at least right before, because they didn’t have a rehearsal to go through it. I’m wondering if she wasn’t prepared and that resulted in a failure. Maybe that’s the learning opportunity there, is you need to spend more time preparing and getting ready.

Scott: We haven’t seen any stories from people behind the scenes to really know what happened. You know there’s five or six other stories out there.

Robert: Some of the audio producers were like, “It wasn’t our fault.” They said a bunch of things about it. To me that was kind of interesting, they were throwing her under the bus.

Scott: Look, I’m not going to dispute that it was freezing cold, it was very loud, you probably don’t have ideal speaker set ups, it’s reverberating off buildings and stuff, it’s not an ideal scenario. I’m not saying that I could have done better, but what I am saying is that she’s a professional and she should have recovered in a different way. If LeBron James didn’t have basketball shorts on, he would still play the damn game. If he didn’t have shoes on, he would still play. He’s not going to let that stop him, is my point.

Robert: Yeah.

Scott: By the way, I’m not a LeBron James fanboy, Michael Jordan all the way.

Robert: All right, so this is a Quick Hitter, we just wanted to talk about that a little bit and just say, if you fail, as you fail, think about those as opportunities. It’s a tough pill to swallow, but really embrace that failure and learn from your mistakes, and use it to get better all the time. Hopefully, Mariah Carey will do that as well.

Scott: That’s right.

Robert: We’ll see if she’ll be there next New Year’s.

Scott: Doubtful.

Robert: Apparently it’s hard to find people to sing on New Year’s. I mean, you’ve got Coolio in one channel and Mariah Carey on the other channel.

Scott: Hey, next year, you and me. We’re going to sing.

Robert: Yeah. What do we learn from Mariah Carey’s failure? I think there’s three different things that we can take away. The first thing is that you need to be prepared. You need to get everything together and be prepared, that when you go on the big stage, you’re going to give it your best shot.

Second thing is, don’t give up. Even if things are going bad, even if you can see that you’re not performing up to the task, don’t give up. Continue going forward, continue putting your best effort forward.

Number three is really embrace it as a learning opportunity, to get better and to grow your business and to learn from those mistakes that you’ve made, because we’re all going to make more mistakes in the future.

Scott: Trying to mix it up here a little bit on Stretch Goals. Let us know what you think on Twitter. Appreciate it. See you next week.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Stretch Goals podcast. You can access the show notes for this episode, and listen to other episodes, by heading over to stretchgoals.fm.

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Robert Dickerson

@RobDickersonJr

Robert Dickerson is the Founder and CEO of Mapout a mobile learning platform that uses video courses to educate customers and train employees. He helps companies develop and launch their products.

Scott Davis

@The_Scott_Davis

Scott Davis is the Founder and CEO of MobX, a mobile development software agency. He has 20 years of experience developing software for Government, Finance, Sports and the Telecommunications industry.