Fail or Failure?

Posted on Friday.5.29.2009

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I spent a little time away from blogging to spend a little more time prepping for an interview I had this past Tuesday. Sadly, I didn’t get the job. But, I have had lots of swirling thoughts in my head and am finally able to try and articulate them.

Obviously there was a huge amount of disappointment that came over me when I found out the bad news. But, being the futuristic person that I am, I immediately wanted to know what my next step should  be. This is when it all came crashing down…

Instead of feeling like it was just a small failed attempt along the long journey of my career, I started to feel like a failure and wonder if I should continue down this career path at all. Why do I do this? Everyone will make mistakes, everyone will see a failed attempt at success at some point…I had made my fail into feeling like I was the failure. Parts of me still feel that way as I write this now. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. Humility: I have been humbled. Nobody likes it, nobody will choose it, but it comes. I’m hoping that as I feel more humility and what it means to pay my dues and grow, I would learn to take advantage of all the opporunities and people around me even if they can’t give me something back.
  2. Confidence: with humility comes a balance of confidence. I can say right now on a scale from 1 to 10, my confidence is a two, three max. I was not at all confident in my interview either. Instead of going in to win the job, I went in not to lose it.
  3. Character: a failed attempt reveals character. Everyone is happy, cheery, giving and kind when they win or have achieved success. What kind of character will you show when you lose? I think my lack of confidence and laziness wasn’t a result of failure but my failure revealed those things I didn’t see.
  4. Timing: when is the right time to give up on something you’ve been working towards? How many times do you have to fail to realize that this is not something you should continue to pursue? My wife wrote a great post about So You Think You Can Dance’s “Sex” Soller who’s tried out five years in a row. Give it up man! Is this you? Is this me?

So what does it mean to fail? Is it time to give up when one thing doesn’t go your way?  I know I felt (still feel) like that through this process. Here’s one of my favorite quotes from Michael Jordan, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

I hope I don’t have to go through 9000 more interviews…

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Posted in: success