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How to turn failure into success

By Oliver Simpson on Feb 13, 2018 8:45:00 AM



This is the twelfth article in our twenty-part series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties, and this time we’re talking about how failure can sometimes be a good thing. We all make mistakes from time to time, but one of the things that defines us is our ability to learn from them. In fact, many would argue that success can’t be reached without a few failures along the way - we shouldn’t think of ‘failure’ as such a negative word. All it means is that we tried something that didn’t quite work, in order to find out what does work. Even science is built on this very premise.


Be a risk taker

When you’re early in your career, taking small risks is a good thing. It’s almost expected that younger employees will take the odd risk, so take advantage of your youth and push the boat out occasionally. If you land on your feet you’ll have another string to add to your bow, but if you put a foot wrong at least you’ll have learned a valuable lesson. Another thing to consider is that risk-takers often get a lot of respect from colleagues. If you’re willing to put your neck on the line occasionally or leave your comfort zone to help the business achieve one of its objectives, you’re far more likely to be seen as a potential leader and be selected for promotions and pay-rises.


Be okay with failing

‘Failure’ isn’t a dirty word. Our society has such negative associations with the idea of failing that it’s almost taboo, but we all do it from time to time. We’ve all gotten things wrong on the journey to getting things right, and that’s all ‘failing’ refers to. So long as you understand why you failed a certain task and are willing to do what you can to either put things right or learn from it, you’ll get the respect you deserve. A big part of that is having the strength to stand up and dust yourself off when things don’t go according to plan. Don't wallow in failure and feel bad about it, instead be okay with discussing it. Not only can you learn from your mistakes, but others can too.

We’d all be better employees, and perhaps better people, if we embraced failure instead of shunning it. If mistakes were made in earnest, then they’re not necessarily bad. Good businesses understand this and have a much more positive and proactive stance on failure. If you’re in such a business, great. If you’re not, why not help change that perception?

Learn more

For more tips on acclerating your career,  see the other posts in this series or just click here to download our free ebook.   


Oliver Simpson

Written by Oliver Simpson