Friday, July 30, 2021
Fail before you can succeed

Submitted by Rebecca Summerfield, Career Services Consultant 

Failure. It is such a dirty word. No one likes to fail - we all want to succeed. But without failure, there can be no growth. As a baby, we learn to walk. But didn’t we all fall, a million times, before we had more steady footing? Didn’t we all fall over on our two-wheeler bicycles before we could ride in a straight line? 

What did we learn from falling? We learned how to better position our feet and how to find our center of balance on the bike. We learned from our failure and went on to become mobile individuals. 

Job searching, and our careers, are very much like learning to walk. Sometimes we hit a homerun out of the park and land the very first job we interview for. Sometimes we bomb our first interview and go home to lick our wounds. Giving ourselves a pity party from failure only holds us back. When you fail, ask yourself the following questions: 

  1. Why did I fail? (And be honest with yourself, because none of us are perfect)
  2. Was the failure due to a direct action on my part, or lack of preparation?
  3. What can I do next time to ensure I am successful? 
Five people, professionally dressed, waiting for job interviews.

We do learn from our successes (and how to replicate that) but it is only when we fail that we can learn how to develop something new about ourselves. 

I have failed a thousand times in my career, and I have grown a thousand-and-one times. 

Recently, I had the opportunity to learn from a failure of mine, reflect on my part and come out of the gate stronger and more focused than ever. I could have sat home, licking my wounds, yelling about how unfair the world can be. But instead, I reached out to a myriad of positive people I have surrounded myself with, to motivate myself to continue my career journey. I have reflected upon my strengths and weaknesses and created a path for myself that speaks to my strengths while giving myself an opportunity to become self-aware of my weaknesses and limitations. 

You can do this. Do not let a failure, or a lot of failures, hold you back or hurt or your self esteem. Albert Einstein failed. Thomas Edison failed. Bill Gates failed. But they all succeeded as well. We may not become an Einstein, Edison or Gates. But we can all succeed in our own rights and make a positive contribution to our society.

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