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.

How Do You Like Your Spaghetti?

How do you prefer your spaghetti, al dente or well done?  Did you know that spaghetti is done cooking when it sticks to the wall?  Go ahead—throw some and see if my theory is correct.  Okay, now throw 99 more pieces.

This is what we do in a career change or a job search.  We throw 100+ pieces of spaghetti and hope that one sticks.  Throw and fall, throw and fall, and so on, until the one piece actually sticks against that wall.

One job application, one new LinkedIn contact, one informational interview, one email to an HR manager, one networking event, for example, all represent those pieces of spaghetti.  It takes many throws, so keep at it!  You never know which one will be the toss that results in your new job.

When you find yourself feeling like that piece of spaghetti stuck against the wall and you don’t know what to do, find a brainstorming partner.  Ask a friend, trusted colleague or family member to help you generate ideas.  Someone who can act as a neutral and supportive party is best.  No naysayers, lollygaggers, or bloviators allowed.

Don’t forget to stretch and warm up.  Then go ahead: throw—and expect many misses.

Remember, you just need one to stick.