Launching products, penalty kicks, hope, and fear

by Scott Crabtree

First, I want to be direct: I am thrilled to announce that TODAY (March 16, 2016) Happy Brain Science is launching Choose Happiness @ Work, our card game that teaches the science of thriving. Please watch the video below of people playing the game and talking about it.

I’m about to give you the link to the product page, but I know that prices above expectations activiate brain circuits very similar to those activated by physical pain, and I don’t want to hurt your brain! So before you visit the game page on our site, please know we feel this is a valuable business tool that solves morale and motivation problems, and helps create thriving teams that deliver bottom line benefits, and the game is priced accordingly! I’d like to show my gratitude for you reading this blog post, so here’s a code to reduce that price 10%: ChooseHappy10.

What’s been interesting to me as I approach launch day is the intense mix of hope and fear that I have, and what it does to me. Depending on the moment, I can feel:

  • Fear: Not enough people are going to buy the game I’ve worked hard on for over three years. People think it should be priced like a cheap deck of cards when it’s a thoroughly researched business tool worth many times what we are asking. If I don’t sell enough, I will get paid nothing for hundreds of hours of work, and even lose money on graphic design, marketing, etc. I better not screw up this game launch.
  • Hope: I’ve built something unique and useful here. People at Boeing, government organizations, non-profits, and startups have all raved about the game. Many answer “What did you like most about this workshop?” with “The game!” I don’t know how many copies Happy Brain Science will sell, but I know we’ve sold some already as pre-release copies, and the feedback has been great. This could be awesome!

Predictably, fear makes me tighten up and think less creatively. It makes me less productive. I get frozen. I want to escape by taking a break. Yes, fear can help keep us safe from lions, but there are no lions in my office, just fears of the world not wanting my game.

Hope, on the other hand, gives me energy, creative thinking, and productivity. One of the amazing things about optimism is that it makes your optimistic vision more likely to come true.

This reminds me of a fascinating study of soccer penalty kicks. One of the takeaways is that to get great performance, don’t add pressure to avoid mistakes. Countries and coaches that emphasize the potential positive outcome (“think how great it will be if you score for our country”) have players that perform better. Countries and coaches that emphasize avoiding problems (“don’t screw up this chance for our nation”) have players who choke more often.

So I’ve been working hard on acknowledging my fear, but then trying to let it go (the “name it to tame it” strategy included in the game). Then I do my best to get back to hope and optimism, so I can both feel better and perform better.

I hope my game will help some of you both feel better and perform better, too.