Let’s be honest. No one likes to talk about failure in their career, however if failure ever stops you in your tracks, I urge you to read on…
A lot of people say they can handle failure, but can they really?
If you go do a google search of the phrase “how to handle failure”, you’d find over 138,000,000 suggestions. That’s a heck of a lot of suggestions and I’m sure they’re all decent too. So, at least you know where to turn for help.
What is failure in your career?
So, what does failure actually mean to you? Not completing a project on time? Not making profits? Missing out on a promotion? Not being accepted for a new job or role? Failure means different things to all of us and the question I’d like you to ponder on is what meaning do you attach to failure?
So is failure good or bad for you?
You may have heard the saying, one person’s failure is another person’s opportunity. But here’s the thing- when it comes to your moment, when failure comes knocking at your door and you are upset about it, what do you do in the moment? I would happily bet that you don’t get you mobile phone out and search google for the best solution. That’s not how most of us operate.
It’s more likely that you already have your response for experiencing failure. For some people it is upset and annoyance, some people are disappointed and some are downright angry and maybe feeling like a victim!
There is of course the other side of the coin, you know those annoying people who go from failure to failure without even pausing to frown. Yes people like this do exist. Those resilient ones who have been knocked down so many times that they no longer see failure as a problem, they see failure as a sign that they are on track.
The big failure test
Here’s a quick test for you. If you were to give yourself a score of zero to 10 for how resilient you are to failure, what would you honestly give yourself? Zero would mean that failure knocks you out big time for days or even weeks; and 10 means you can take failure in your stride and keep moving forward. What score would you honestly give yourself?
If you scored 0 – 7, thank you for being honest. However, we’ve got some work to do.
If you score 8 – 10, you obviously see failure as a friend and are able to use it as a valuable resource.
Failure is a resource
I came across this story on LinkedIn today of Adriano, a Digital Business Analyst who had seven interviews at Facebook and he failed to get the job. He was disappointed, however he chose to share his moment with the community on LinkedIn as a lesson in how we can handle failure. He was extremely resourceful.
The more sceptic among us might say, he’s putting it out there that he’s a good guy, it’s Facebook’s loss and he’s available for a job. But, we’re not going to think that way.
In fact here’s a few of the comments he received in response to his story:
"Although disappointing for you, we all need reminding of from time to time. There will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important."
"You could be hired just for this attitude. The rest can be learned. I wonder what they were looking for in 7 interviews."
"Most people share after they are successful, I am glad there are individuals who are not afraid of rejection"
"There will be a day when you will look back and tell yourself that life gave you a lot better in exchange."
"I realise that things we really desire in life do not come easy. But sometimes self-doubt creeps in for a brief moment."
The seed of every failure brings a lesson for you
So, one thing we can all learn from this young man is that sharing a failure is a good thing when you share with the right people. And more than that, a FAILURE is simply a failure. What is significant is the meaning that we give to it.
Let’s think about your own failures, either now or in the past how have you handled them? Were they resourceful or un-resourceful to you? Whatever, you’ve done in the past you get a chance to change that today. Here’s a better 4-step solution that some of my clients use in order to build up their resilience to failure.
- What meaning am I attaching to this situation?
Most important, take your time to think through the situation you are in and assess what occurred. Find a way to be okay that it is just a situation and it is not you that is a failure.
- How do I want to feel about this situation?
Just like you choose the meaning you attach, you don’t have to go to auto-pilot and get upset about it for a long time. Yes, you can get disappointed initially, but don’t stay disappointed for too long.
- Now, what outcome do you want?
Rather than dwelling on the failure for too long, you still get to choose what you want. Your goals are still intact, so it’s simply taking the opportunity to adjust your steering to a new direction
- What is my next step?
Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase”. Decide on an action and get started straight away. And then keep moving forward. You might want to call a friend to discuss or the career agent to line up your next role. Whatever you do take some action.
Let your failures be your friends
Look, it doesn’t matter where you are in life right now, you will experience failure at some time. What will you do in response? You get to choose, am I going to let this failure beat me or will I turn this failure into a victory. I love the way Rocky summed it up in the movie when he was sharing some wisdom with his son
“The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!” ~ Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
I’m inviting you to keep moving forward no matter the failures!
Donovan ~ Career Energiser
Are you struggling with big decisions in your career right now? Take the FREE “CAREER HEALTH ASSESSMENT” by clicking here. It will be your next step to moving forward in your career.
Donovan Grant is a Master Coach who helps IT Professionals to win in business and life! For more training and development for IT professionals by an IT professional vistit www.donovangrant.com.