Failure. No one wants to talk about it. It’s much easier to focus on the good and to be optimistic about the future. It keeps us hopeful and moving forward. There’s nothing wrong with that...so long as we occasionally
reflect on what has not gone so well in our lives and careers.
We learn more from failure.
Think about it. What experiences have you learned from? When things are flowing smoothly in life,
we’re not learning a lot. We don’t learn from what is easy. But when we hit a bump in the road, we have
opportunity for growth. I’ll give you two contrasting examples.
I was an accounting major in college. I needed an elective my senior year so I took “Farm Accounting”.
It was in the Ag school and I guess I took the class because I was curious. I sat in that class and listened to
the Ag majors struggle with basic accounting that I had covered my first semester. Not only did I not
learn anything, I felt guilty for wasting my time on that class.
Fast forward 20 years when I found myself in the worst job of my life. It was a hard job.
After I got into it I realized I was not qualified and I didn’t do the job very well. Eventually I escaped
and spent the next few years periodically reflecting on that assignment. I learned more in that one job
about career management, leadership, politics, prioritization…and more…than I did in the
previous 20 years. I hated the job, but I loved the experience! (Once it was over.)
I now draw on that experience with my coaching clients to help them avoid career missteps.
We all have career setbacks. Rarely are they career ending events. Look at them as
opportunities for learning, growth and redirection.
Do you take time to learn from your setbacks?