Failure sucks, but it instructs. While missing the mark never feels good, failure is one of your best teachers when it comes to life and career advancement.
Once you’re able to move past the pain of failure you can see failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. That's when you’ll be able to forge forward in your career with more perspective and greater strength. In the long run, this can help you advance and achieve in bigger and better ways.
Here are five ways failure can help your career:
1. Consider new opportunities-
As the adage goes, when one door closes, another opens. When you fail, it may be an opportunity in disguise.
Sometimes, you get so lost in the daily shuffle that it’s easy to forget what is motivating you in your career, or what you’re really working toward. Following a failure is the perfect time to take stock of where you are in your career and to consider your ultimate goals. If you’re not working in the direction you truly want to go, this failure can have the silver lining of helping you seek out new opportunities which may be better aligned with where it is you actually want to go.
2. Get out of a rut-
Following a routine is a good thing, falling into a rut is not. Often, it's when you're in a rut that you’re not performing at your best. This is when the mistakes occur that lead to failure. Failure can jolt you out of your rut and back into the present moment.
Failure is jarring, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re in a rut, failure may propel you to be more mindful and careful in the days and weeks following. Simply put, failure can whip you into shape, which will make you a better and more effective worker. Ultimately, that is what will advance your career.
3. Catalyst for change-
Fail is the clearest sign you'll ever get that something you are doing isn’t working. This gives you the opportunity to honestly evaluate what didn’t work, and use it as a catalyst for change. What could you change to reduce the chance of failing again?
It could be some minor bad habit that is holding you back. Failure is when you realize you need to eradicate it. Your failure could be a sign of something larger and more fundamental you need to be changed, like the field you work in or the types of roles you take on at work. Either way, failure can bring your attention to what needs to be changed.
Awareness that a change is necessary is a powerful first step. What do you need to change in order to be successful? Armed with this information, you can begin to take further steps needed to make a real and lasting change that can help your career.
4. Avoid future mistakes-
Failure isn't final -- if you learn from your mistakes. If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, then clearly you’re not learning from your errors.
Once you’ve had a chance to lick your wounds following a failure, honestly evaluate what went wrong and what you could do differently. If you truly do take away a lesson from your failure, then it could potentially shield you from future (and potentially bigger) failures. You’ll never reach a point where you don’t make mistakes, but the idea is to continually make new and different mistakes which you can continue to learn from. Over time, you’ll continue growing stronger and learning new things. A willingness to learn is a common trait of the most successful people.
5. It keeps (or makes) you humble-
When you only experience success and upward ascent in your career, you can start to think you’re invincible. This can distort your sense of reality. You might start to think that the rules don’t apply to you, or that you can’t fail. Unfortunately, this lack of failure can give you a really big head.
Failure has sometimes painful but ultimately positive effect of keeping you humble in your career. When you do experience failure, you appreciate success all the more. Failure in this way can keep you striving for more. You’ll remain motivated to learn more and continue improving over time. As a bonus, by remaining humble, you’ll probably be a more likable person, which certainly can’t hurt your career.