Hi everyone, trust you’ve been doing great? This is the second part of my last post about “Failure” and how our perspective about it can change everything.
Amongst the many times I’ve failed at something, failing ZOO101 in my year one stuck with me more because not only was my intelligence questioned but my tenacity too. Being a model-child with academic excellence, I was shocked when I failed a course in my first semester in the university. First thing I did was tell my mum because I needed to draw comfort and strength from knowing she’ll always be in my corner (this is something I don’t think most students going through challenges can do), she’s the one person I don’t want to disappoint so sharing my predicaments with her and her encouragement helped me get through that phase. I failed the exam again at my second attempt but learnt what not to do because the third attempt was going to be my last chance if I don’t want to have an extra year. I changed my reading pattern and who I was reading with. I practically did things differently and it was evident in my result the third time because I had an A in the course. I learnt the beauty of failing forward with that experience.
When you get to the point where your perspective shifts and failure slowly begins to transform into the stepping stone it actually is, you’ll be open minded to taking each and every single opportunity that comes your way. And just because we’ve asserted that failing isn’t so bad any more doesn’t mean you should set out to flunk it on purpose. Instead, try to make the most of each shot you get and for every shot aim better.
I will briefly just share some nuggets on how to fail forward;
Talk, you’re not alone; Please talk to people about it, don’t make yourself an island, seek for help. Talk to the people you’re most scared of disappointing and draw from their strength (maybe they’ve been waiting for you to even ask for the help). Get to meet other people with similar challenges and diffuse solutions together. Ask questions, your styles/techniques could be good but maybe obsolete. Don’t wreck yourself in silence (at least talking about my challenges helped me).
Goal setting; Set clear goals. Be specific about your goals and its benefits on many levels so you’d instantly know which opportunities to take or not. Manage yourself by staying focused and motivated. There will always be a lot to do in your career and by trying to do it all, it will be hard to keep up which will only result in frustration. This is why many young people start strong in their pursuits and give up halfway. Be clear about your goals and pick only a few priorities to focus on at a time. Small steps in the right direction lead to big results.
I always remind myself when I’m getting on overdrive, “Baby steps, baby”.
Keep Your Mindset in Check; Being optimistic doesn’t come naturally to everyone. But I think it’s the mindset that is most worth working on. When you develop a growth mindset. You’ll always learn from your failures and evolve. A good example are babies, they are not familiar with the norms of success and failure unlike adults who spend a lot of time planning to avoid failure, babies learn by experimenting which eventually leads to constant improvement for them.
Don’t be Rigid; Allow some flexibility in your life, stay true to your boundaries and take conscious steps to expand your reality. Check yourself well if there are industries or locations you’re not exploring in your career because of beliefs you’ve adopted about what’s possible and not? By confining yourself to your comfort zone, you stifle your growth.
Be mindful; Due to myopia, as humans, we tend to knock ideas down before ever giving them a chance. But sometimes, its best to just empty your mind and be in the moment, remove absolute failure as an option. From a career perspective, this is critical for networking conversations, interviews, and business meetings. We tend to be so focused on our well rehearsed and packaged sophisticated appearances that we end up missing out on opportunities for genuine connection.
Be Passionate about Growth; Endeavor to always make the situations win-win no matter what. Whether or not you get the results you want, put in place measures to keep growing and moving towards your goals. Seek feedbacks from your mentors and target employers so as to know where to work on. And never stop aiming for continuous improvement.
While failing can seem daunting because of the conditions we’ve placed on ourselves and the self-imposed meanings we’ve assigned to failure, it doesn’t need to be that way. The point is to not let setbacks set you back for too long. Embracing failure as a way to grow and setting yourself up to win no matter what will pave the way for your success.
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