There is a great difference between Failure (with a capital F) and failure with a lowercase “f”, but sometimes it can be hard to see that. While it is part of the human condition to fail on occasion, and despite what we might learn from those failures, failure is never, ever, easy. Given enough failures, in fact, and you might start feeling like a complete Failure. This is a dangerous place to tread, though and can lead to greater problems down the road if you don’t come to some sort of understanding with yourself, your life and your career. Don’t let failure stop you in your career tracks. Face it, deal with it and then move forward.
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How do I know so much about failure? Like all of us, there have been times when life and work weren’t going the way I planned or hoped. Failure after failure piled up until I felt I was carrying a burden far too heavy for my mind to handle. When I was in the midst of it, it felt like I would never dig myself out. Thankfully, one way I deal with failure is much like the character of Dory in Finding Nemo — “just keep swimming!” Except in the most dire cases, there is always a new day coming, a new world that is opening up to you. Sometimes it can take a lot of “swimming” to get there, though, but I find that that is often the only way through a crisis of failure, no matter how large.
I have been thinking about failure a lot lately, as I have been having one of those periods in my own life and career. There are several reasons for my failure thoughts. First, I am about to turn 50 years old, which is a point when many people start to take stock in their life — and in some cases — find it wanting. What you desired when you were 25 is almost nothing like what you desire when you are 50. Even the most successful people can look back and wonder if it was all worth it and what exactly they have accomplished.
Second, I am almost a year into my own career transition from day-to-day computer support to a role more focused on new media, social, media, podcasting and video production. As is almost always the case, income from your previous position often stops before income from your new position starts to come in. This leads to worries about money and makes you doubt your choice to transition and if the new position will ever be successful. Self-doubt is an insidious drain on your energy and your emotional outlook. After a few slow months it can wear you down to the point where it seems that Failure, with a capital F is catching up with you.
Hopefully it will help you to know that even in my darkest hour, I know that my life and career will get better. I know that doom and gloom is just part of the game we all play and eventually my transition will start to pick up speed and direction. While my worries might manifest themselves in the dark of night, when day comes and I can focus on new work, new goals and new challenges those worries do recede. It is important for me, and you as well, to not give overriding authority to those worries that crop up. Know that morning will come again and give you a new opportunity to move forward.
Don’t let life pin the badge of Failure to your chest. Everyone, even the most successful people, struggle on occasion and, I know it is true for myself, we all tend to judge ourselves more harshly than others when it comes to life and career success. I can guarantee that there are those around you that don’t consider you a Failure at all. They see someone striving to make their life and career better, even if it can be a bit difficult. It is only when we stop trying that we truly become a Failure. Giving up, while certainly one option, insures that you will never move beyond failure or even just the crisis of the moment. It may seem easier to simply give up in the face of adversity and failure, but I can assure you that the best that any of us can do is, “just keep swimming” our way to the career we deserve.