Make Room for Our Friend Failure

I love this article and have wanted to share it for a long time.

The article is all about the key ingredient to success: failure.

After you read it, you may wonder what it has to do with career development.  To that, I say everything.

Career transitions, job searches, and promotions only occur if you first have a willingness to fail.  But it’s not just about failures.  There is another key word this article uses that I believe is critical: grit.  Grit is the ability to fail, dust yourself off, and try again.

Fulfilling careers don’t come through the blind bureaucracy of the Internet and they don’t fall into our laps.  They come through hustle, discomfort, failure, trying new things, and having some grit to start all over again.

I hear many of my clients say “I’m a terrible networker” or “I hate promoting myself.”  It doesn’t matter.  While I try to reframe my clients’ thinking on these beliefs, I know the reality is this: if you want that job and career, you have to engage in what is most uncomfortable to you.  Take baby steps or big giant leaps, but make sure you try something out of your comfort zone.  If you fail, then pick yourself back up and try again.

Are you ready to take the plunge?  Go try something new right now.  Join a group, sign up for a networking event, call a contact, ask someone for coffee, or sign up for a training course.  What is the worst thing that can happen?  You’ll get a skinned knee and you’ll watch it heal.

Happy failing.

The Old College Try

Has anyone ever told you to give something “the old college try”? What does that even mean? I know the expression is used to ask someone to give it their all or to try their best, but why not give it “the old high school” or “pre-school” try?

Personally, I’m finding some irony in this expression right now. In 2012, 53% of college graduates were unemployed or underemployed. You can give college many tries over but still not land yourself a job after graduating.

We’ve established it is not an ideal time to get out of college and into the job market. So what does this mean? You need to work harder and smarter to get a job and manage your career. By the way, this goes for everyone and not just college graduates.

What does it mean to work harder and smarter? First, get clear about what you are after. If you have clarity of purpose, others will see it. Second, get out and talk to people about your career purpose (and use social media to push the message out). If you don’t share it, no one will know it’s there. Third, shake it up. Try something different in your job search other than online application. Try a new approach. There is always another avenue whether it be interning, volunteering or trying to find a mentor.

The only person who is going to make this happen is you. Keep at it. Although college is not producing the results it used to (guaranteed employment in a field of interest), that does not mean it will not happen. This is where perseverance and grit pay off. If college didn’t give you what you expected, you still need to give it “the old college try.” Keep working at it and you will see results.