via b2community : 3 Reasons Why Failure is the Best Thing for Your Career
Stepping into the working world for the first time is not easy. I remember during my final year of study, applying for any job listed on the six job listing sites I followed.
By the end of the year, I had an email folder called ‘Rejections’ that had 64 emails in it. Those were just the responses. I did not hear back from the majority of publications.
My final year was spent trying to figure out what was missing off my CV. What experience had I missed? What internship had I not done? What course module should I have instead chosen?
This same feeling was felt by the majority of those in my graduating class. I was one of the fortunate. I stumbled across a role in Marketing for a conference company. I interviewed the week after my graduation ceremony and started the following Monday.
I was doubly lucky that I had also found my passion at the same time, Marketing.
Thinking back now, we were conditioned to think we had to be perfect, and thus put incredible pressure on ourselves to find that graduate position that would ignite our amazing careers.
Sarah Robb O’Hagan, CEO at Flywheel Sports, named among Forbes “Most Powerful Women in Sports” and recognized as one of Fast Company’s “Most Creative People in Business”, has just released her new book “Extreme You: Step Up. Stand Out. Kick Ass. Repeat.” In the book, Sarah discusses this very issue – how as a society we are conditioned to think we need to be perfect and failure is unacceptable.
Sarah’s book features interviews with 25 leaders in their fields, from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to tattoo artist Mister Cartoon, where each detail their journeys to success. Each story has one thing in common…failure.
What stood out to me about Sarah’s book was her unwavering honesty. She openly admits that she was fired twice in her twenties, and details the mistakes she made. No blame. Just honest analysis of why she was fired.
“In the COO’s office, I saw my boss. He was sitting with someone from Human Resources. Suddenly my breakfast started rumbling in my tummy. Most of the next ten minutes is still a blur. I recall being told that my ‘role had been terminated.’” – Quote from Sarah Robb O’Hagan’s new book, Extreme You.
It’s very easy to accept failure and not take something away from it. The best leaders learn from it.
In a recent interview, Sarah was asked how she would now answer the dreaded interview question, “What’s your biggest weakness?”
“When you can say, ‘I had this epic failure and from it, I learned I have this weakness, which means I know how to manage this weakness’…suddenly the interviewer is like, ‘oh, that’s awesome!”
Secondly, you have taken the fear of someone finding out away and you’re owning it.”
So, for all the new graduates, here are 3 reasons why failure is the best thing for your career.
It teaches you humility.
Success is like a drug; one taste and you want more. It emboldens you. It makes you feel invincible. Success gives you the confidence to walk into that meeting room and convince your boss to support your latest idea.
It can also prevent you from taking the advice of those around you.
Change is constant. Innovations evolve. Failure teaches you to have humility. It teaches you how to reach out for help. How to identify those around you who have the skills and experience to drive you or your team’s innovation forward.
It helps you identify your weaknesses.
By facing failure head-on, you can learn from it. Confront and evaluate what you could have done better.
In Extreme You, Sarah talks about the need to “Play Your Specialist Game.” This can only be done with a frank look at yourself or your team and assessing not just your strengths.
“As Extremers, we must get over the expectation that we have been given some magic gift that will solve everything and instead develop our willingness to acknowledge and meet whatever challenges come along, including our own areas of weakness.”
It makes you a leader.
Failure will make you wiser. It ignites your ‘don’t quit’ mentality and opens up the door to the next opportunity. With every failure, you learn.
Learning from failure is more rewarding. It shapes who you are as a leader. You learn more about what your business, peers, and colleagues need from you.
It also gives you the understanding to enable others to fail. As Sarah explains,
“It’s human nature that as leaders, the further we get up, we think ‘Oh My God I’m supposed to have all the answers’. That’s what people are expecting of me. When you tell someone below you how to do their job, you are taking away the need for them to make sure they’re successful because you are bearing all the risk.”
By allowing an individual in your team to work out how to get from point A to B, they will fight harder to ensure their idea succeeds. You are helping them develop into the best versions of themselves, by providing a safe space to try, experiment, and fail.
via Inc. : Why career failure is essential to your personal growth
Nobody’s career goes exactly as planned. Even if, from a young age, you are intuitive enough to know what you want to do, and prudent enough to make a fail-proof plan to achieve your vocational goals, there will always be obstacles preventing you from living out your perfect career scenario. Poor instructors, unpleasant co-workers, a supervisor worse than Pointy-Haired Boss from Dilbert (I just aged myself) and the everyday complications of life impede even the most well thought out strategies.
But even if these headaches slow you down and make you rethink your path, you need not regret everything that has kept you from accomplishing the career you’ve always wanted.
1. Missing an Opportunity
Did you sleep in past your interview or miss the deadline for a submission? If the cause for these blunders is something that can be fixed, then appreciate that you’ve learned how to keep it from happening again. If not, then remember that you’re a human and you are neither the first nor the last person who will make this mistake.
What you must avoid is taking it too harshly. If it’s a serious matter, then take it as a lesson to remember in the future. But beating yourself up over something that’s already happened never helps anyone, whether it be with your job, your relationships, or your fantasy sports team. Career ending events are very uncommon, so unless you have to worry about the law taking away your right to your chosen occupation, there isn’t much that you can’t come back from.
2. Staying True to Yourself
Does your boss lack a moral compass? Does he/she order you to do unethical tasks against customers or competitors? Confronting your boss on his/her dishonest practices may not be on your to-do list, but if you spend too much time following instructions that you perceive as “doing the wrong thing”, then you’re going to suffer more than you would by coming out against your employer. If they know that you know what you are doing is wrong, they may decide to change their own practices. And even if they choose to dismiss you for staying loyal to your own integrity, it is easy to take solace in knowing that wasn’t the type of place you wanted to work at to begin with. You may regret the temporary loss of income, but you’ll never regret keeping your principles.
3. Coming Up Short
If you’ve spent a considerable amount of time trying to complete a task, only to find out that it wasn’t good enough, then you’ll likely want to spend some time sulking. But nobody who has gotten anywhere hasn’t had this happen to them. No one gets it right all the time.
This is another area where you can learn from mistakes. Most times, being rejected will also come with advice as to why you came up short. And advice is something that you can carry with you for the rest of your life. Another set back, another lesson learned.
4.Losing Your Job
There are a few different ways one gets fired: By doing the wrong thing, by doing the right thing, or by doing nothing at all. If you’ve done the wrong thing, then you know it, and can take it as another one of those “character building” episodes in life. If you’ve done the right thing, then you’re probably complying with the practice of staying true to yourself, and there’s no shame in that. If you’ve done nothing at all, then while you may want to scream at the injustice, remember that it was probably not your fault, and more likely a case of company politics.
Unless you’ve decided it was “the final straw”, then getting back on track is probably easier than you think. Remember – politicians, athletes, and celebrities lose their jobs all the time. It doesn’t mean it’s the end.
5. Changing Your Career
Do you love what you are doing now? What did you want to be when you were young? Is it what you are or what you still want to be?
Chances are, they aren’t the same. You’ve probably changes your career at least once so why not again? As far as anyone knows, this is the only life we have, so why should you waste it doing one thing when you want to do another? If you don’t feel the same passion for the career path you’ve chosen, then why do it for the rest of your life?
Luckily, there are always people with advice and encouragement to help you to make change. Seek out someone who is encouraging and that inspires you. Remember to always listen to the advice you would give someone in your situation. It’s the best guidance you’ll ever follow.
via Huffington Post : This singular personality trait can predict career failure
A version of this article originally appeared on Inc.
I dislike myself.
I fear the worst.
I change my mood a lot.
I am easily disturbed.
I get stressed out easily.
I am full of doubt.
I feel threatened easily.
These are sample statements from the scale that most consistently predicts poor job performance: neuroticism.
Neuroticism is the tendency to respond to threats, frustration and loss with negative emotions. Neurotic people blow things out of proportion, act compulsively and exhibit paranoia. Clinically, neuroticism is associated with mood and anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addiction. It’s even correlated with cardiac disease, asthma and irritable bowel syndrome.
Neuroticism compromises cognitive processing capacity and overall job performance. Emotional stability, by contrast, boosts creativity, working memory and task performance. Unlike neuroticism, emotional stability is correlated with job satisfaction and general emotional wellbeing. Wellbeing is, in turn, associated with high job performance across the board.
Emotional stability has increasingly positive effects on performance as a job gets harder and more complex. Neuroticism, on the other hand, has increasingly negative effects as pressure increases. “Experiencing low levels of state neuroticism may be most beneficial in high demanding tasks,” researchers write. In fact, one study found that low neuroticism can be twice as important for performance in situations requiring emotional stability.
We’re all a little neurotic sometimes, but our success hinges on keeping calm when stakes are highest. Below are three ways to remain emotionally level-headed under pressure:
1. Channel your anxiety.
One study found that situations requiring caution, self-discipline and threat anticipation occasionally benefited from worrying. Interestingly, this finding only applied to individuals with high cognitive ability. Researchers speculated that their reasoning ability could act as an “intermediary between the situation and the emotional impulse.” If you have expertise or innate ability in a given scenario, channel your anxiety toward constructive reasoning (not helpless panic).
If you don’t have experience, focus less on thinking through things and more on learning what you need for a situation to go smoothly. Julia Pimsleur, entrepreneur and author of Million Dollar Women: The Essential Guide for Female Entrepreneurs Who Want to Go Big, suggests, “Channel anxious energy into preparing. Every time you get nervous, prepare.”
If I’m nervous for a job interview, I shouldn’t try to calm my nerves by just telling myself I’ll do great. Instead, I need to learn about the interviewer, write down questions, research the company and investigate the position. “Have you really done everything you can to prepare?” says Pimsleur.
2. Don’t get ahead of the story.
Anxious people are more likely to jump to conclusions. This instinct can sometimes yield positive results, like enhanced emotional intelligence. Other times, it causes us to “go down the rabbit hole,” as Pimsleur calls it:
“She’s going to reject my idea, and then I’m not going to get a promotion, and then I’m going to be out of a job, and then I won’t be able to pay my rent, and then I’ll have to move back in with my parents.”
Sound familiar? Stop yourself. “Do you actually have that data yet?” Pimsleur describes receiving a letter from a civil action group in California threatening to sue her new company for $50,000. Rather than pulling her hair out, Pimsleur gathered as much information as she could. After three days, a lawyer told her that these groups rarely sue companies with under 10 employees. Pimsleur’s company had eight. “When we got to that piece of data, the problem went away.”
Freaking out doesn’t just compromise our clear-thinking capacity; it wastes time. “Really stop and think before you go into panic mode,” Pimsleur told me. “You never get that time back.”
3. Practice not reacting.
Research shows that rumination ruins wellbeing. Every day is an opportunity to take life as it comes. “The more you over-think things, the more you go into catastrophe mode—which can be your worst enemy, especially in terms of negative self-talk,” says Pimsleur. Over-thinking can be a particular problem for women, who at any given time have 30% more neurons firing than men.
Replace obsession with hope. One study (among dozens) found that more hopeful sales employees, mortgage brokers and managers had higher job performance when measured a year later—even after controlling for cognitive ability. Hopeful executives also produce more and higher quality solutions to problems.
Rather than viewing a particular crisis as our life’s defining catastrophe, we can see it as a chance to cope. “Build up this muscle of gathering data and not reacting, not going down the rabbit hole. These are great skills to have in life,” says Pimsleur. Over time, we can accumulate stories of resilience and a personality that can calmly handle anything thrown our way.
Via Careerealism : There’s a big mistake that 99% of employees are making and they don’t even know it.
This mistake is being made primarily by people who are new in their career, but it’s also being made by veterans who see the writing on the wall but are ignoring the signs and symptoms.
The big mistake is the false sense of security employees are establishing in their careers.
It’s not their fault, though.
As kids we’re asked in Kindergarten, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
This question is no longer applicable nor should it be allowed to be asked, especially in the context of white collar jobs.
As we go through life, graduate from high school, and head off to college, this antiquated and false sense of security is pushed even further, as colleges and universities try to narrow the lane students fit in.
In the real world, things don’t work like that.
In the real world in 2014 and beyond, you can no longer establish a career based on a single field.
Your employer doesn’t need 100 people who are experts in one particular field. They need 100 people who are Jacks-Of-All-Trades. They need people who understand and can speak the lingo across teams and across departments.
It’s very important that this issue be stressed because millions of 18 and 23 year olds are graduating from high school and college looking to jump into the fast-paced world of business, thinking they’re going to build long-term careers in fields like marketing, public relations, advertising, social media, and so on, and what they don’t realize is that those fields are constantly disrupted. They constantly evolve and change.
The problem with this change is that it leaves the employee vulnerable to losing their job as their chosen field may eventually become obsolete.
So, here’s the formula for success:
- Establish expertise in as many connected fields as possible. Instead of just specializing in social media, diversify your skills in traditional marketing, SEO, PPC, PR, business development, and so on.
- Gain as much experience as possible in all related fields.
- Continue your education for the rest of your life. This shouldn’t be confused with college, as college doesn’t define education, it’s just a component and an option. Your education is the attainment of new knowledge and skills. However, you go about capturing this information, make sure you continue doing it for the rest of your life.
- Climb the ladder. As you continue through your career, never allow yourself to become complacent. When you see opportunity, grab it and take charge. If opportunity doesn’t present itself, jump ship and set sail for a new job.
- Exhibit value. Value is all that matters. This is why being a Jack-Of-All-Trades is so critical in today’s constantly evolving and competitive job market. Employers care about value. Your college degree is fine, but don’t over-index on its importance. You’ll set yourself up for a very big let down. Value lets an employer know that they’re getting their money’s worth, so the more value you can provide an employer by virtue of your skillset, the more likely you are to build true job security.
Via Inc. : You don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career.
We’ve all heard of (or seen firsthand) people doing some pretty crazy things at work.
Truth is, you don’t have to throw a chair through a window or quit in the middle of a presentation to cause irreparable damage to your career.
No matter how talented you are or what you’ve accomplished, there are certain behaviors that instantly change the way people see you and forever cast you in a negative light.
The following list contains nine of the most notorious behaviors that you should avoid at all costs.
The word says it all. Stabbing your colleagues in the back, intentionally or otherwise, is a huge source of strife in the workplace. One of the most frequent forms of backstabbing is going over someone’s head to solve a problem. People typically do this in an attempt to avoid conflict, but they end up creating even more conflict as soon as the victim feels the blade. Anytime you make someone look bad in the eyes of their colleagues, it feels like a stab in the back, regardless of your intentions.
People make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossiping about other people. Wallowing in talk of other people’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip finds its way to them, but gossiping will make you look negative and spiteful every time, guaranteed.
3. Taking Credit for Someone Else’s Work
We’ve all experienced that stomach-dropping feeling that happens when you discover that someone has stolen your idea. Taking credit for someone else’s work-no matter how small-creates the impression that you haven’t accomplished anything significant on your own. Stealing credit also shows that you have zero regard for your team and your working relationships.
4. Having an Emotional Hijacking
My company provides 360 feedback and executive coaching, and we come across far too many instances of people throwing things, screaming, making people cry, and other telltale signs of an emotional hijacking.
An emotional hijacking demonstrates low emotional intelligence, and it’s an easy way to get fired. As soon as you show that level of instability, people will question whether or not you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts.
Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they might “deserve it,” turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling your emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.
5. Announcing That You Hate Your Job
The last thing anyone wants to hear at work is someone complaining about how much they hate their job. Doing so labels you as a negative person and brings down the morale of the group. Bosses are quick to catch on to naysayers who drag down morale, and they know that there are always enthusiastic replacements waiting just around the corner.
When someone hits a home run and starts gloating as they run the bases, it’s safe to assume that they haven’t hit very many home runs. On the other hand, if they hit a home run and simply run the bases, it conveys a business-as-usual mentality, which is far more intimidating to the other team.
Accomplishing great things without bragging about them demonstrates the same strong mentality-it shows people that succeeding isn’t unusual to you.
7. Telling Lies
So many lies begin with good intentions-people want to protect themselves or someone else-but lies have a tendency to grow and spread until they’re discovered, and once everyone knows that you’ve lied, there’s no taking it back.
Getting caught up in a lie, no matter how small, is exhausting and hard on your self-esteem. You have to be authentic if you want to be happy with who you are.
8. Eating Smelly Food
Unless you happen to work on a ship, your colleagues are going to mind if you make the entire place smell like day-old fish. The general rule of thumb when it comes to food at work is, anything with an odor that might waft beyond the kitchen door should be left at home.
It might seem like a minor thing, but smelly food is inconsiderate and distracting-and so easily avoidable. When something that creates discomfort for other people is so easily avoided, it tends to build resentment quickly. Your pungent lunch tells everyone that you just don’t care about them, even when you do.
9. Burning Bridges
So much of work revolves around the people you meet and the connections you make. Dropping an atomic bomb on any professional relationship is a major mistake.
One of TalentSmart’s clients is a large chain of coffee shops. They have a relatively high turnover, so when a barista quits, it isn’t usually taken personally. One barista, however, managed to burn every single bridge she had in a single day. The surprising thing is that she didn’t yell or do anything extreme; all she did was leave.
Without warning, she showed up to her Monday shift, told the store manager she was quitting (she had found a better-paying job somewhere else), and walked out. The result, of course, was that every shift that she was scheduled to work for the next two weeks had to be done with one less person, as she provided no time to find a replacement.
She most likely saw her actions as being offensive only to the manager (whom she didn’t like), but in reality, she created two miserable weeks for everyone who worked at the shop. She ruined her otherwise positive connections, with every single one of her colleagues.
Bringing It All Together
These behaviors sound extreme and highly inconsiderate, but they have a tendency to sneak up on you. A gentle reminder is a great way to avoid them completely.