Failure is one of those words that immediately make you feel uneasy. It traditionally has very negative connotations and is usually a word steeped in guilt and shame. But we’ve all failed, and probably more than once in our work lives. Maybe you missed an important deadline or didn’t get the promotion you so eagerly sought after. Whatever happened, failure in the workplace can be challenging to manage. It is however, a career reality and can definitely be used to your advantage.
Here are five tips on overcoming failure in the workplace, and learning how to, as Aaliyah said so wisely in her 2001 banger, “dust yourself off, and try again, try again.”
#1 Accept The Reality Of Failure
Like a very well-known (and exceptionally successful) addiction recovery program, acceptance is also the first step if you’ve missed the mark or failed to achieve a goal in the workplace. When it happens, note down how it makes you feel and accept that things haven’t gone as planned. Acknowledge where things went wrong so that you can do better next time. Use it as an opportunity to reset and refocus. Self-deception, or simply ignoring your failure, will always end badly.
#2 Own Your Actions
This just means being responsible and stepping forward to own your role in where things went wrong. Were you logged into the company’s Facebook account when you wrote a lengthy status about your insane eagerness for Friday drinks? Maybe you sunk a few thousand dollars into poor quality merchandise for your small business? Whatever went wrong, however you failed, be quick to stick your hand up and own it. Apologise to those affected, including any external stakeholders, and get working on resolving the matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.
#3 See It As A Setback, Not A Failure
Do yourself a favour and from this day forth, treat errors, mistakes, colossal failings as mere setbacks or disruptions. By doing so, you mentally prepare yourself to find an alternate plan or way of doing things. No need to wallow for lengthy periods in self-pity and disappointment.
#4 Don’t Dwell On It
Now that you’ve accepted something in the workplace didn’t go as planned, it’s time to shake it off and get back to work. Dwelling on failure can have a lasting negative affect on your confidence and resilience, two qualities that are key to success and progression. It’s happened, you owned it, and now it’s over.
#5 Mistakes Are Actually Very Important
When handled well, you learn from failure. In fact, making mistakes may be the source of the most significant things you learn in your career. Failing in a marketing role might be what leads you to start your own event management business, or maybe, in making errors in the financial report process you unearthed a more efficient system that is now used by the whole team? Embracing failure will make your job now, and your career later, more manageable, more enjoyable, and inevitably more successful.
Image Source: Variety.