Everyone knows that it’s good to learn from our failures. Yet, most people hate to fail. Even little failures — like a cake that doesn’t rise, a test that goes poorly, or a meeting that starts late — can ruin what was otherwise a perfectly good day.
But not all failures are the same! Some interesting research is concluding that early-career setbacks can actually result in a stronger career in the long run — stronger than that of people who never had a setback. (See “How Early-Career Setbacks Can Set You Up for Success” by Tim Herrera / The New York Times. Writes Herrera, “failures in the first phases of your career may mean you come back stronger than those who never stumbled.”
I thought of this counterintuitive dynamic in terms of my own career path. Long ago, while working at an ad agency in my early 20’s, I had a “setback” when a commercial didn’t air on time. I concluded I’d never get a promotion and decided to go to law school. Did that new path make me a better version of myself? I’m not sure. But, without the setback, I never would have become a lawyer, a partner in a Big Four accounting firm, and an Executive Coach helping people with their own careers, setbacks and transitions.
Success breeds success, yes. But our failures help us grow and lead to success, which sometimes we can only appreciate years later.
Margaret Enloe, JD, PCC, practices in New York City as a Professional Certified Coach and speaker. She helps career-minded people feel more confident and improve their emotional intelligence. This executive coach can help you adopt a more positive mindset or help you focus on realizing your career goals, even when there are setbacks. To see what her previous clients have said, view testimonials on her website. Email her at email@example.com to schedule an initial free consultation.