Afraid of Failure? Don’t Be.
In the following article, Lewis Daidone discusses the value of making (and learning from) the occasional mistake.
When we’re new to a job, we very often live in fear that we’ll mess up something important. It’s natural. Even though no one could reasonably expect a novice to handle everything with total ease and 100 % accuracy, we still expect ourselves to perform to absolute perfection. Here are a few things to remember if you’re wracked with anxiety over the possibility of making a mistake.
No risk, no reward.
It’s a cliché, but it’s nonetheless true. If you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in a position to succeed, your career will never develop and blossom. Remember: the most successful people didn’t achieve success because they never experienced failure; they just didn’t let failure get in their way. They owned their mistake, learned from it and then never made that same mistake again.
Fix, don’t fixate.
Dwelling on a mistake only makes you reluctant to try again. Try to reframe your approach to dealing with failures. Don’t let the embarrassment become the primary focus, shift your energy towards what actually went wrong, and address it directly. Also, don’t forget that you’ve undoubtedly learned something new during the process, which will benefit you in the long run.
Take the high road.
As soon as you realize that you made a mistake immediately bring it up to your supervisor. Timing is everything and waiting and hoping that your error may go undetected is not a viable, or ethical, solution. Then own it. Resist the urge to absolve yourself of responsibility or make excuses. It not only inhibits your ability to learn from the process, it can diminish you in the eyes of your team members and supervisors. If you own up to your mistake and eagerly move forward, it proves that you are the kind of person who can be trusted.
Lewis Daidone is a Certified Public Accountant and a consultant to tech companies and financial services firms.