I'd like to think that some of my blogs are read by aspiring younger women new to the workforce, or just about to. Mainly I envision writing to my little sister, and trying to craft responses to the thousands of questions she has for me on a daily basis.
One of the greatest things I have had the opportunity to learn from was my own failures and mistakes. I've taken risks, done stuff that scared me, but pushed through it. Here's why that is valuable
1) You can't put a price on experience. Imagine if every time things weren't as you expected or didn't go your way, you gave up. How far could you go in life if this was your philosophy? You may never get the opportunities presented to you if you don't stick it out for the bigger picture. Jobs rarely give you a strict day-to-day of what you will be doing - may roles morph as your manager gets to know you and company needs change. Sure, sometimes it makes sense to cut your losses (we'll talk about that later) but without anything to lose up front, why not stay and figure out what you can learn from this situation?
2) Accept your mistakes and learn from them. You will absolutely, definitely screw up. (Sidebar - If you don't, you aren't doing your job right and are playing it way too safe. This is boring. Don't be boring.) Sometimes you didn't think of something, didn't prepare enough, were misinformed, or it's not even your fault at all. But the important thing is parse through the criticism - maybe take a day or two to look at it with fresh eyes - and discover what you would have done differently, and what you will do for next time. Chances are, it's not the first challenge of this sort you'll be faced with - but you must be able to self-examine and improve in order to advance in any career.
3) Things not working out? Fix it. Things not working out with your boss? Commute too long? Spat with a coworker? Campaign not working? You may know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. You can't resolve conflicts if you don't speak up and address them. You can't better your situation if you don't at least ask if there's something that can be done about it. And if after a few months, you are still miserable, it's time to get out. The important part is not to make rush decisions and really try your best to figure out the heart of the issue first before moving on.
We don't quit.
Failure is an opportunity to learn. It means you took a risk and it didn't quite work: that's a good thing. Don't let a fear of failure or some unrealistic focus on perfection scare you away from taking chances: that's often where the best things in life come from.
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