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3 Powerful Reasons Why I Love to Fail (and Why You Should Too)

3 Powerful Reasons Why I Love to Fail (and Why You Should Too)

You know the feeling. The feeling you get when you fail miserably at something. That gut-sinking, desperate, I’m an idiot, and I’ll-never-amount-to-anything feeling. It’s awful, isn’t it?

In fact, some days it’s so awful that you don’t even want to get out of bed. The shame, embarrassment, and fear are harsh reminders that maybe you don’t have what it takes to succeed. Sometimes you even wonder if you should give up on your goals and dreams altogether. But you shouldn’t. And here’s why.

You can achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of by mastering one fundamental skill.

Failure: Study It, Understand It, Learn From It

Why is failure considered so bad? We seem to have a problem with failure. In the sense that failure is seen as the thing that must NOT happen at any cost. Too many people don’t want to focus on failure because it is often equated to weakness.

However, the truth is – failure happens to everyone. It happens in different areas of life and is not contained to high-stakes testing.

Some failures are bigger than others. Some are more public than others. Some are more humiliating than others. And some have a greater stigma around them. But failure does not need to set you back. It can catapult you into the future you’ve always wanted.

In fact, the only thing that separates people who succeed from those who don’t is a proper understanding of the power of failure. Successful people will tell you failure, is not only good, it’s also necessary.

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Failure might be a good teacher, but it’s also a cryptic one. Figuring out it’s lessons is no easy task. To be able to learn from failure, you need a way to decode the teachable moments “hidden” within them.

Here’s how to decode the valuable lessons of failure…

1. Study It

Start by analyzing your failures. Failure can constitute feedback regarding what you’re doing wrong, which permits you to adjust your actions until you do things right. But, many of us aren’t willing to look at our own mistakes. It makes us feel bad. However, in order to get a deep learning experience from failure we need to study them attentively, without falling to the other extreme and obsessing over them.

Study the facts. The fact is that there was a failure: you didn’t get the job, you didn’t make the sale, the relationship didn’t work out, and so on. Those are facts. That’s how you study failure. Anything beyond that is an interpretation, a meaning you’re giving to the situation.

2. Understand It

Failure is an opportunity, not a burden. It’s NOT the opposite of success. Failure is a bridge to success. It’s an initiation rite, the necessary steps you must take no matter how hard, no matter how tenuous.

Failure is NOT about making mistakes. Mistakes are inevitable and part of the journey. Mistakes are lessons. They’re stepping stones. They’re guideposts. If you don’t make mistakes you will not achieve anything. On the other hand, REAL failure is when you walk away from an opportunity. When you give up on your dreams to do something more “practical.” Failure is when you take the “sad sap” route, throw yourself a “pity party” and focus on thoughts about why you’re not good enough.

If you change the way you view failure and understand it for the life-changing experience it is, you can begin to take advantage of all the benefits that come along with it.

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3. Learn From It

Failure offers great learning lessons if you choose to approach it with a positive attitude. You can only receive what failure has to teach if you’re willing to fully embrace the failure itself. There’s no other way of learning other than by making mistakes. Failure teaches you that success rarely comes in the form of a “big break.” More often than not, it comes after months, even years of hard work.

Failure teaches you to try many avenues before giving up on reaching a goal because there’s usually more than one way to get there.

Failure can teach you where you went wrong in the first place and how you can pick yourself up again in a pursuit to succeed.

Failure can teach you that you’re not bad at something, just that you have to try a different method to find success.

Failure can reveal critical errors in your thinking, approach or game-plan and force you to make necessary adjustments. It may close one door, but will open another that’s better suited for your success.

There are always a million reasons to quit. But one reason to go on. You’ll have a happier more fulfilled life if you try your best to study, understand and learn from failure. Great. So now that we’re clear on that, why should you love to fail?

Here’s why…

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3 Powerful Reasons Why You Should Love to Fail

Success takes willpower, intelligence, determination and grit. But above all else, success requires failure.

Failure is the blacksmith’s hammer that tempers the sword of success.

Reason #1: Failure Means You’re Trying

Success is a moment. It’s fleeting, you work so hard for it but you will rarely savor it. But what really matters, isn’t success, it’s trying. Success is in the reaching, not the arriving. It’s constantly trying to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

If you haven’t failed yet, chances are you aren’t trying very hard.

When you stop trying, you allow opportunity to pass you by. But when you try, you push yourself to dream, to do better, to look beyond the present and ultimately embrace the moment you are blessed to live in. So keep trying. Keep pushing. Keep believing in dreams that others don’t think are possible.

Reason #2: Failure Builds Character

Character in life is what makes people believe in you and is essential for individual success. It’s the most important trait you can have and takes a lifetime to build but can be lost in an instant.

A person with good character finds acceptance wherever he goes and is respected by all. In addition, character can help you develop a pleasant personality.

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Nothing is more important for true success in life. Life is nothing without it.

Failure helps you build character because it sheds light to who you currently are. Failure can show you if you give up, complain or blame others. This can help you make adjustments in your character so that you become successful.

Reason #3: Failure Helps You Overcome Fear

Fear is a useless emotion. It does nothing but cause negative effects. The feeling of fear is not productive, nor is it a necessary or important part of achieving success. Fear limits your full potential. It’s pervasive. And if you let it, fear can haunt everything you do.

Fear does not contribute to life, but rather it takes away so much from life. It takes away chances, experiences, choices, dreams, hopes, love, friendships, connections, possibilities… Fear is an anchor that must be cast off in order to live your life in the most honest, real and successful way possible.

As you begin to fail more and more, you start fearing less and less. And when fear drops low enough, you’ll reach a point where it’s no longer preventing you from taking action.

Failure is the Beginning of Success

Ninety percent of times, fear of failure is entirely internal. It really is. It’s you second-guessing yourself on something that you know you can do. Why do you know you can do it? Because you conceived the idea. It wouldn’t be possible if you couldn’t think of it. Let’s face it, if you want to accomplish something in life, even something huge, the answer to do that is already out there.

So, how could you fear failing, when failing is so important to success?

It doesn’t matter if you tried and failed a dozen times. Those failures just told you what doesn’t work. The difference lies in your response to failure. Most will give up. Most will cave in. Most won’t stick it out. But you do. And that is the difference. Success is what comes after you have survived all your failures. You have to fight through the bad days so you can earn the best days of your life. Success is what happens when you stick it out! Grind it out! And that is why I love to fail.

How about you? Do you love to fail?

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Last Updated on February 20, 2019

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Are you stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Staying in a role too long out of fear
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many, many other reasons why you may be feeling this way but let’s focus instead on getting unstuck.

As in – getting promoted.

So how to get promoted?

I’m of the opinion that the best way to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization.

Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrated added value?

Let’s dive right in how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position:

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them – tongue in cheek, of course – about getting really good at their job.

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“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else?”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some reality in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:[1]

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role. I bet there was a time when this job was a stretch for you, and you stepped up to the challenge and performed like a rock star. You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong “personal brand” equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call “a good problem to have”: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done “too” good of a job!”

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

In Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that project you do so well is hiring and training new entry level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, making hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

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Is there anyone else on your team who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. In becoming a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower then to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Be ready to explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is well explained by Ashley Stahl in her Forbes article. Shahl talks about mindset, and says:[2]

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you–not the job–who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Share with your supervisor that you want to be challenged and you want to move up. You are seeking more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and will develop with some additional projects and coaching.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills:

An article on Levo.com suggests that more than 60 percent of employers look at soft skills when making a hiring decision.[3]

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You can bone up on these skills and increase your chances of promotion by taking courses or seminars.

And you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor, either. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has the position you are seeking.

Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of her meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what her secret is! Take copious notes and then immerse yourself in the learning.

The key here is not to copy your new mentor (think Jennifer Jason Leigh in “Single White Female.” Just kidding). Rather, you want to observe, learn and then adapt according to your strengths. And don’t forget to thank that person for their time.

4. Develop Your Strategy

Do you even know specifically WHY you want to be promoted anyway? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one year, five year, or ten year plan? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what?”

Sit down and do an old-fashioned Pro and Con list. Two columns:

Pro’s on one side, Con’s on the other.

Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

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Look at your lists and choose the most exciting Pro’s and the most frustrating Con’s. Do those two Pro’s make the Con’s worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want.

The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. –Mark Twain

Mel Carson writes about this on Goalcast that many other authors and speakers have written about finding your professional purpose.[4]

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Why is it that you do what you do?
  • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
  • What does a great day look like?
  • What does success look like beyond the paycheck?
  • What does real success feel like for you?
  • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your Vital Work Friends over coffee.

See, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. And you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose. And like Mastercard says, that’s Priceless.

More Resources About Career Advancement

Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

Reference

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