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Before Bloomsbury Publishing took a chance on a story about an orphaned boy wizard, J.K. Rowling was mid-divorce, in her own words, “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.” Eight other publishers had passed on the book. Yet it was repeated failure that prompted Rowling to make it the basis of her commencement speech at Harvard University in 2008, telling the students that failure allowed her to focus on what she wanted and gave her the determination to succeed. So, as you move forward on your own career path, take the fear of failure with a grain of salt.

  • Recognize it for what it is. Fear of failure, whatever your definition of the word for yourself, often paralyzes, ironically holding you back from realizing your dreams and desires for fear you won’t achieve them or you’ll somehow mess it up and lose an opportunity. If you find yourself procrastinating, avoiding risks, giving up easily, doubting yourself or trying only those things you already know you’ll do well, all those reactions have a root cause in the fear of failure. But once you recognize them for what they are, you can begin to change your perspective.
  • See failure as a chance for opportunity. If, in your career search, you feel as though you’ve had far more interviews than actual jobs, you can look at it in two ways: negative or positive. So instead of thinking you simply can’t land a job or don’t interview well, review what did You got the interview; obviously you’ve got the skills to make it that far. Ask for feedback and practice interviewing to see if a different tactic might work better next time.
  • Get some perspective. Each “failure” is a chance to review, a new beginning. Henry Heinz failed as a horseradish salesman before he moved on to ketchup. Learn from your mistakes and recognize it’s better to do something imperfectly rather than do nothing perfectly. Keep a positive attitude: Telling yourself you’ll do better next time with a few changes will help you succeed where, “I’m never going to get a job!” doesn’t. And remember: Mistakes do not have to define you.

Within your own career, embrace failure for the opportunity it is: A chance to refocus and try something different to succeed. To help with your next career move, visit the recruiting professionals at PrideStaff Thousand Oaks Ventura County.

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