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In the past, we have explained why failure is critical to your success. A good practice to adopt in your weekly career management regimen is an assessment of your performance. This is just a small pause that you take at the end of the workweek to look back on the week that was. Ask yourself these three questions:
- Where did I fail?
- What lessons from these failures will I take into next week?
- Where did I succeed?
You should be taking risks. You should be challenging yourself. You should take on tasks and projects that you are not yet qualified for. That is how you will advance throughout your career. By pausing each week to take stock of where you fell short of your own (or someone else’s) expectations, you will maximize the learnings those risks and challenges offer. The first time you do this may be a heavy and somewhat uncomfortable endeavor. No one likes to fall short. But part of your ultimate success will be contingent on your resiliency in the face of such setbacks. Look at where you fell short of expectations without judgment. Acknowledge the incident for what it is—a risk that did not quite pay off or a challenge you did not overcome. Aiming too high is okay as long as you learn from the experience.
Once you have assessed the failures, be sure to reflect on what you have learned, what needs to change, what skills you want to develop, and what concrete steps you will take to do better next time. Record these and consciously focus on benefiting from these lessons in the coming week.
But do not stop at focusing on just the setbacks. Once you have honestly assessed them without judgment, celebrating your weekly successes is also very important. If you are like most people, this will be much easier once you have made peace with the failures. Record all the things you did well, the skills you improved on, the good choices you made, the times you coped well with the challenges and demands of your work, and the times you exceeded expectations, including your own. End with this. The point of examining failure is not to make you feel bad. Quite the opposite. It is to give you power over your own performance and set you free to take on new challenges and risks confidently. This tip is a way to experience independence and freedom from the failures of the past and look ahead to more success in the future!!