Monday, April 20, 2020

How Your Failure Can Benefit You and the World Right Now

One of the wonderful things that's happening right now is this "we're all in this together" mentality.

But even now, when you fail, you're going to feel very, very alone.

No one is going to send you little heart emojis when you fail at work, whether it's being written up for some infraction or even being fired. Nope. When you fail it's often a very lonely thing and there may be very little "I'm in this with you" attitude from your colleagues.

Right now, a lot of people are failing. They're unproductive and the boss has noticed. They're losing their focus or mojo or whatever and just can't seem to get the job done right. Maybe they're entrepreneurs and they're watching their life's dream go right down the economic tubes.

It's tough to fail right now on top of everything else. Some may offer little sympathy when it seems so trivial in this life-and-death situation.

Still, it hurts to fail, no matter when it happens. But I've interviewed enough people over the years -- experts and everyday worker bees -- to tell you that failure can have benefits. If you need some reassurance right now that failing is OK, then I'm here to give it to you.

Here's how you can benefit from failure:
  • You will learn something. If you keep doing the same thing all the time and are successful at it, you're not going to change. You're not going to grow. Let's face it: If the coronavirus has taught us anything, it's that we need to be able to adapt, to flex and to grow. When you fail, you're learning how to pivot and how to change course when life throws your a curve, and that's always valuable. 
  • You will become a better person. When life knocked you around in high school, you learned a lot about who your real friends were, who you were as a person and what was important to you in the long run. That same lesson is learned in adulthood. When you get knocked around in your career, you learn who supports you in your network, what you really want to do and the parts of your career that really matter to you. That will make you a better person, a better employee, a better colleague and a better leader.
  • You will be more creative. I think it's fascinating to watch the way people have adapted to failures during this pandemic. New York fashion designers make face masks because of a failure to supply healthcare workers with necessary equipment. Teachers figure out ways to teach their students when the online systems go haywire. When you fail, your brain will start thinking about things like: "How could I do that differently next time?" "What can I do to salvage the situation?" Those are all good things. A creative brain is always an asset in any career.
I think failure can be tough at any time, but during a pandemic it can be even harder because you may already be feeling a lot of anxiety and stress.

Just remember that failure in your career is a great way to prepare yourself for the future and know that you're building your resiliency, creativity and character. 

That's something that will benefit you and the world.

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