Think back to when you were a child... you were probably naturally inquisitive, curious, eager and willing to try new things. As a child when things didn't work out you probably moved on and tried something else. You probably didn't waste time or emotion worrying about what didn't work, you simply tried something else.
Then you grew up and something terrible happened. You decided failure is unacceptable and your ego became your worst enemy. I've been there, when things start going wrong my defense mechanisms kick in and I become focused on 'saving face'. I think this article by Sarah Rapp provides food for thought and suggests that denial, hedonic editing and chasing losses are the wrong way to deal with failure. If anything, failure is a necessary step in learning and growing. How we view failure and deal with it, to a large extent, determines how successful we will be.
We do not have to look hard to find very successful people who have failed, some of them many times before they found success. According to TIME magazine, failure is the key to success for women. But why do women fear failure? The Huffington Post suggests that when women experience failure, they try to hide rather than acknowledge it. This silence creates the myth that they are the only ones who have failed.
So what can we do to overcome this crippling fear of failure? There is some great advice on Mindtools which is well worth a read. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck identified a certain way of thinking shared by people who embrace their mistakes in the pursuit of success: the growth mindset is resilient in the face of failure and sees it as necessary for learning and achievement. If you immediately berate yourself for a mistake, you’re probably stuck in a fixed mindset. Dweck’s website offers some powerful insights into changing your mindset, but the bottom line is this: to change your mind about failure, all you have to do is… change your mind. Stop beating yourself up. Successful people don’t see failure as catastrophic, they see it as a good data point to guide their next attempts.
It is worth bearing in mind that failing is not the end of the world, indeed it’s just a beginning of one’s success. Look it as your strength and not as your weakness. Use it as your guide and inspiration in order to do more. The focus of our blog this week has been to provide tips and support to our female students leading up to the Women in Leadership Conference which is taking place tomorrow. We hope the blog has given some food for thought and thank you for reading it.