Why you shouldn’t be afraid of failure

young woman with self-esteem issues, confidence, lack of confidence

Article by Clodagh Murphy, Director of Cathedral Appointments

Most of us are taught from a very young age that perfection is what we should strive for, and that failure should be avoided at all costs. Failure for many is something that feels very final – something that we can’t come back from.

Girls are especially notorious at placing themselves on pedestals of high expectations. Failure hits them much harder than their male counterparts; they’re more likely to view failure as a lack of ability which then adds stress and self-doubt into the equation.

Nevertheless, whether a boy or girl, child or adult, the overarching issue faced is the perspective we all seemingly have around failure. The idea of getting it wrong keeps people up at night, it’s a phobia that controls us more than spiders and the paranormal, and it’s a consistent barrier to success.

Think of a businessperson you admire; you’ll be hard pressed to find a time in their life where they didn’t fail at something. They’ve undoubtedly heard the word ‘no’ countless times and they will most certainly have created products that flopped. But, despite this, they’re still incredibly successful. Why? Because they weren’t afraid to get it wrong.

It may sound counterintuitive, but without failure, we don’t learn. If we don’t learn, we don’t improve and if we don’t improve, we stagnate. It’s time to turn failure on its head and embrace it, rather than push it away.  

Plan ahead

Humans are creatures of habit and routine; we enjoy the safety blanket of knowing what is coming next. So, when there’s the potential risk of being pushed far outside of our comfort zones, we’re quick to bury our heads in the sand.  

But, sticking with the same thing stunts both personal and professional growth. If you want one solid piece of career advice; the only way to smash any glass ceilings or overcome hurdles is to just go for it.

Find others who have been there, done that and got the t-shirt

In times of stress or worry, we can be very good at believing that we’re the only ones who have been through such an ordeal. Of course, this is far from the truth; to help yourself gain perspective on your current journey, finding others who have been where you are can be the tool you need to keep going.

Not only will you be surprised at how many people have failed in their professional lives, but you’ll be inspired by how they picked themselves up, dusted themselves down and tried again.  

Some of the best career choices for me came out of mistakes. Sure, it didn’t feel brilliant at the time, but it made me who I am today. I learned to roll with the punches and found a group of people who I could lean on when times got tough, and I wouldn’t have changed any of it for the world.  

Think about failure differently

The word failure usually immediately equates with negativity but what if we all worked harder to change this and instead make it something that is shrouded with positive connotations?

What good things did failure give you? What new lessons have you learned? What skills did you build upon? Who did you meet? What did you do that pushed you out of your comfort zone and allowed you to grow?

There are an immeasurable number of positives that come from failure, we just have to find them.  

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