I failed at something this week. Basically, I proposed something at work and, after quite a bit of consideration, we decided not to do it. Why? While what I proposed was a good idea and would have solved a number of problems, it would have created some problems we are actively trying to avoid. It took a week of discussion and thinking of ramifications to make the decision. I was very excited about the possibility of this idea happening, but in the end it wasn’t going to work.
I fail ALL the time. It seems like every week I have one failure to my name. It took me 30 years to realize that failure is typically a good thing. I have had some big failures and some small one. Here is a list of my 5 biggest failures:
- I failed out of college mid-way through my junior year.
- I went into serious debt and couldn’t hold a job for 2 years.
- I was so anxious to get a professional job that I took the first one offered to me and then found out it wouldn’t pay me a livable wage.
- I went into debt as a result and had to take a second job to pay off debts.
- I can’t seem to get a scholarly article published.
All these mistakes made me the woman I am right now. I wouldn’t change a single one. Here are the things I learned from each of these failures:
- I need a plan and purpose that works for me. I learned how to realize what makes me happy and find a career that fits that. Then I can work to reach that goal.
- I learned a work ethic and how to budget.
- I learned how to live on my own and what kind of job I really need.
- I learned how to suck it up and do what I need to do to live on my own.
- I learned what academia is like and how competitive it can be, even when you have good research.
I try to find the good in every failure, especially with those within my control. If I did something that caused me to fail, how can I do something different next time? If it was out of my control, what can I understand about the forces that cause the fail. What is the take away from my failure this week? I understand my boss better and his priorities. He needs to keep certain people happy at the moment. It means, if I can be more mature about this than others, I will make an impact on administration that I will benefit from in the long run. It also means I am thinking the right way, but administration has a bigger plan that I am just a small part of. It helps me understand the politics of academia better.
Personally, I find the lesson far more valuable than simply getting my way.