Sometimes I Fail and It’s Cool


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:

  1. I failed out of college mid-way through my junior year.
  2. I went into serious debt and couldn’t hold a job for 2 years.
  3. 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.
  4. I went into debt as a result and had to take a second job to pay off debts.
  5. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. I learned a work ethic and how to budget.
  3. I learned how to live on my own and what kind of job I really need.
  4. I learned how to suck it up and do what I need to do to live on my own.
  5. 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.


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