Sunday, 5 April 2015

A need to screw up once in a while

To this day, I remember the fateful words, "I'm going to have to roll you off this project...you're just not meeting my expectations," from a lead client Partner.

For anyone in the industry, this is the kiss of death because many of us follow the "DFU" mantra.

PG-rated that means, Don't Screw Up.

However everyone needs to screw up once in a while. 

The reason is that you learn more and remember more from your screw ups (i.e. failures).

Those experiences are what help you grow and mature as a professional. 

  1. I learned to check my emotions - A person in a power of authority was telling me that I wasn't good enough. The natural reaction is to go on the defense and justify why it's not your fault. It's hard not to take that personally. But the truth is that I needed to understand his reasons why and figure out how to fix it. This required me to put my emotions to the side and look at the situation from his point of view. 
  2. I learned that one data point does not define your career - In the moment, it may appear that your career has hit a roadblock. At the time, I thought I needed to update my resume and get it and myself out the door as soon as possible. But what happened is that all of my advocates and supporters came out to help. You have to keep your entire career in perspective. You're not going to please everyone. 
  3. I learned what I should do the next time - A question that I got during the moment was, "What would you do differently?" For me, I recognized that I was getting into a bad situation to begin with. When you feel you are in a position not to say, "no," it can be challenging. But if you see that nothing good can come out of the situation to begin with, saying "no" may be the best thing you can do. 

We go through life afraid to screw up. But the truth is that all it takes is one time and there is a huge sense of relief that follows. The reality is that most of the time the consequences aren't as bad as we made them out to be. 

In my case, I picked myself up and moved on determined not to repeat the same mistakes again. 


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