Last week, I said I was going to do a Failure Friday feature. It seemed to resonate well with people and I did a little mini outreach to see if others might be willing to share some of their stories.
A lot of people want to share general failure advice.
Few of those want to share specific stories.
And even fewer of those want to share recent stories.
Perhaps they are thinking of the big failures that stick out in their minds (I definitely have some of those). Or maybe this is an example of the stigma I’d like to see cast into the fire, melting into nothingness like Gollum’s final moments in Lord of the Rings.
I’ll leave that to you to decide which?
In the meantime, I want to tell you about another failure I had.
Earlier this year, I was asked/nominated/voluntold to lead a reinvest initiative. It met EB’s criteria for donating time (yes, that was referring to myself in the 3rd person) and was professionally interesting.
The subject matter doesn’t matter so much as what I did to feel like a failure. And today is your lucky day because this is a two-for.
I assumed the partner didn’t want to do a detailed review. Wrong.
Because I was late doing that review, I missed the deadline I had committed to, which also isn’t great.
That’s not the part that gave me the most angst though. In the review meeting itself, the review comments were… free flowing. It was more in a collaborative sense than it was in a “you missed the point” sense but in the end, I was still kicking myself a little bit.
The number one thing doing laps in my head was why didn’t anticipate some of these questions?
I felt like a failure not because I did a sub-par job of leading this team but because there was so much more I could’ve done.
And that’s where I have to check myself.
We should always be looking for new ideas, regardless of the source. Sometimes that means a partner will have some ideas too. And if you think about it, that shouldn’t be surprising given the breadth of their experience, especially if they are staying close to what’s happening in the market, which kinda comes with the gig.
For me, I licked my wounds and am trying to get my emotions to align with what my pragmatic brains knows to be true:
Failure and feedback are a normal part of development even if you’re a high performer.
For other relevant career advice they don’t teach you in school (undergrad or MBA), check out my Corporate Ladder University e-book: