Carol Dweck, the author of the bestselling book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, developed an educational concept that infiltrated classrooms and the work world. The idea was if you praise students’ efforts for working hard instead of saying “You’re brilliant!”, They would become more successful. This leads to the idea that if I work hard, I will be in control of my success. However, if working hard controlled your outcomes, why did you fail?
How many times have you worked hard on the job, and the promotion went to someone else? How do you rationalize what happened? Do you become disengaged at work? Do you become passive aggressive? Do you begin looking for a new job where you will be appreciated?
Few leaders have taken the time to help team members cope with this sense of failure and disappointment. As stated by Rachel Simmons director of the Phoebe Reese Lewis leadership program at Smith College - “The humbling, brutal, messy reality of life is that you can do everything in your power — and still fail.”
Therefore, the only way to overcome failure is to pick yourself back up. Identify what motives you, and answer the question - why are you doing this? Is this position a stepping stone towards your dream job? Are you passionate about what you are doing, or do you need to make a change?
For those that are passionate about what they are doing, I say, shake off the failure and disappointment, pick up those fingers and go back to that computer. Readjust your focus, continue the good fight - preserver. As C.S. Lewis once said, “Failures, repeated failures, are finger posts on the road to achievement. One fails forward toward success.”
Now for those that realize they aren’t passionate about what they do, don’t see their current position as a stepping stone towards their dream job, I say, it’s time to find a new course. Change direction, and seek that which excites you, thrills you, and galvanizes you. For it is never too late to begin the pursuit for your dreams.