Everyone Succeeds – Some Are Just Successful At Failing

Anyone who knows me knows I am directionally illiterate. When meeting friends anywhere it is not uncommon for them to ask, “Do you know where you are going?” and I take no offense to this because more often than not I don’t. Sometimes they are even waiting for me in the parking lot just to make sure I get there!

I’ve lived in my town for over a decade and still do not know where everything is and how to get there. My son made the comment once that he had only been driving for a year and new the roads and locations better than I did. I told him that at least I was consistent. I consistently fail at directions – I’m ok with that.

What I am not ok with is being successful at failing with the steps that are going to help me achieve my goals. Too often we begin to take on these failures as commonplace, typical or the norm. They are not, they are results of choices.

If you are pursuing a goal whether it is securing a new position or landing a new client it is important to pay attention to the entire process, not just focus on the end result.

Often times it is the steps we take that give us the most information, value and lessons rather than the ultimate achievement or failure of the goal. As you are working through the process be sure to continually evaluate to make sure you are getting the most out of each step. Also be sure to celebrate your wins throughout the process – this will give you momentum and confidence moving forward.

For example if you are job searching after each networking event take some time to review your introductions and discussions with each person. Were you able to engage them, were you able to clearly communicate your value, what did they respond to positively, what did they respond to negatively, what actions did you suggest, how can you assist each person, what if anything did they offer to you etc. If your networking is not producing the results that you want you can start questioning each interaction which will help you identify patterns that have created successful failures. Armed with this knowledge you can change your behaviors to start seeing positive successes.

Reflecting throughout the process is difficult to do as the main goal seems to take the lion’s share of our focus, for example if you are applying for and interviewing for a certain position. If you are not selected for the position it is critical to review the entire process to see where improvement can be made – and where you succeeded.

There are positive successes even on the road to failure. The point of looking back is not to criticize yourself and make yourself feel worse – it is to see where you can improve and congratulate yourself on your successes.

In the job example – ok, so you didn’t get the job; however, you interviewed extremely well, built strong rapport, perhaps have the foundation for a networking relationship, performed excellent research on the company and were able to prepare in a moment’s notice for a request that they made. These can all be significant successes and you should feel pride in accomplishing them. Combine them with the identified challenges and with a little tweaking you can build upon your positive successes list. Perhaps it was a matter of one element of experience. Is it possible to gain that experience through education or volunteerism?

Focus on the positive wins and see if there are any clues in there as to how you can change some behavior to move the perceived failures into the win column.

“Don’t dwell on what went wrong instead focus on what to do next. Spend your energy on moving forward toward finding the answer.” Denis Waitley

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Coach-Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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