I am ABSOLUTELY convinced that failure is (almost always) a predecessor of success. Just think about it- every great success story starts with a failed attempt that eventually went well.
One of my favorite things is asking successful people to share their story with me. It is a great way to gather good take-a-ways and learning tools that boost my own success.
Through these conversations, I generally hear similar patterns of people who tried something that didn’t work or who faced major push-back before breaking into the niche that made them successful.
Look at Bill Gates. Did you know that the first demo he attempted to sell to a major client failed because his machine didn’t work?
Did you know Steve Harvey was homeless before he got his first break? Or that Beyonce lost in talent competitions before she was ever discovered?
The “Beyonce wasn’t built over night” phrase is true and applicable when we think about how we should face adversity.
At the end of the day, adversity will present itself to each of us. The only difference between those who are successful and those who are not is that the successful people did not quit. They refused to take “no” for an answer. They fell but kept dusting themselves off.
Kandice The Failure
Overtime, I realized that much my success was also predicated by a pattern of failures and push-back. To be honest, I HAVE FAILED AT EVERYTHING that I have mastered–so much so, that I almost get excited about hurdles and learning experiences.
Understanding that hurdles only propel you toward greatness is a game changer.
I failed every practice test I took for the bar. I received, what feels like, 100 rejection letters before I hit an interviewing stride. My employer heavily critiqued my first few business transactions before I got it right. Heck, I went through 5 breakups before I found the love of my life! And let’s not get into how I did 5 million pageants yet never won one. BUT, each of these experiences prepared me.
Because of the failures, I took notice of my mistakes and refined my methods to make me better.
The amazing thing about failures is that you never forget them. This inability to forget is the best learning technique EVER! I remember what I did wrong then hone in on ways to get it right from that point forward. The key is to use failures as a propellant rather than some sign that the thing you are striving for must not be meant to be.
Things to Do When You Fail
Instead of quitting, try these techniques after a failure.
Assess the Mistake
Take a good look at why you failed. What things could you have done better? Where did you drop the ball?
The best way to get an accurate read on areas to correct is to ask an unbiased party who will be completely honest with you.
If you are a writer, let a more seasoned and successful writer critique your work. If you are falling short at work, establish weekly one-on-ones with your manager to get feedback on areas of improvement.
Knowing is half the battle toward successful outcomes.
Lose your instinct to get defensive and lean in to expand your knowledge base on how to get better.
Correct the Mistake
Assessing a mistake does no good if you do not take action to correct it.
Developing a checklist of things I must do before I close out a project is essential to minimizing error. This checklist is generally made up of the things I have left out in the past or been encouraged to improve upon by my manager.
In your case, a checklist may not be necessary. Maybe its a sticky note or a manual you develop for yourself instead. Maybe it is as simple as an attitude adjustment before you walk in the door. Either way, you should be taking active steps toward correcting your shortcomings each day.
Get a Mentor
Mentors are like fairy godmothers (or fathers) who lead you in the right direction.
Pick a mentor who is established in the niche you are looking to master. Assess their track record among colleagues as well as their climb to the top. Determine similarities and differences which might make them a good fit then establish a time to speak with them to get to know them better.
If the initial conversation goes well, keep in contact. Run ideas by them. Share failures with them. Request insight on next steps. Pick their brain on how they recover from failure.
People are generally glad to help those who are trying to help themselves. Take the opportunity to build a relationship with someone who can help you grow.
Get Back Up
Don’t take failure as an indicator that you should quit! Take it as a motivator to keep going!
No matter how many times you are knocked down, make the decision to get back up. You are the only thing standing between you and success. Make strides toward getting there each day. You’ve got this! It’s all working out for your good!