Friday, July 12, 2013

Three Reasons It's Okay to Make Mistakes With Your Job

It it a truth universally acknowledged that nothing ever goes according plan. 

The same can be said of your job responsibilities and projects not always turning out the "right" way.

And you know what? That is perfectly okay. More than that, it's my thought that you SHOULD have moments of failure and falling down - thus learning what it takes to stand up, brush your behind off, and try again. Or in some cases, try again and again and again.

Before you head into your weekend plans, be them exciting adventures or low-key relaxing, let's take a look at three reasons why making mistakes with your job is a good thing, and how they allow you to become a better employee and thought-leader in your field.

At the very least, these should help when you arrive back at the office on Monday morning ;)

If You Never Fail, You Never Learn

Enough said. If you've never experienced failure, what have you learned? Whether it's an interview you totally bombed, a project deadline you overlooked, or a meeting with a client that completely missed the mark, these are the experiences that are actually going to make you a better employee. Why? Because they are those that you'll learn the most from. The key here is being aware that you CAN learn something, and then having the courage to put one foot in front of the other when all you feel like doing is hiding somewhere with a giant pint of self-pity flavored ice cream.

Of course, it helps to get feedback about what to do better next time, so if your boss doesn't automatically offer it up don't be afraid to go seeking it. Some of the least successful interviews I had before coming to GoAbroad ended up being the best, if only because I received great feedback and tips from interviewers about what to do better next time.

Following directions to success? Maybe...
Sooner or later, those terrible interviews and client meetings are going to be moments you look back on with a self deprecating sense of humor. After all, every great employee has to start somewhere and sometimes that means the bottom of the totem pole. I don't know about you, but there's nothing like a good challenge to inspire motivation.

Good Things Come to Those Who Work For It

If you want to move from being a novice to becoming a thought leader in your field, you have to be willing to really work for it. And not just work for it, but have the patience in getting there. A healthy appetite and passion for your job  doesn't hurt either.

Like anything else you dedicate your efforts to, there are going to be the moments where you're likely to stumble. As I mentioned in the first tip, it's only when you're okay with stumbling now and then, that you'll learn to walk with more authority.

There's No Such Thing as Knowing Everything

I'm really hoping I'm not the first person to tell you this. If I am, well…welcome to the real world (said with the most affection possible).

As an international educator with a job that involves a lot of technology and social media, one of the biggest lessons I've learned is that the term "expert" should often be taken as a grain of salt.

I don't say this with the intention of marginalizing anyone's area of knowledge or work - seriously, I know how much talent and hard work it takes to pursue your dreams and become awesome at what you do - but simply as a way to remind you that learning is not static. Rather, it's a continuous and mobile thing. If you've reached the point where you think you know everything….well, I'm not even going to go there ;)

The point is, there's always room to grow and learn in your job. As quickly as the world can change, so can your profession and industry. It only makes sense that there will be learning curves and moments of confusion to experience along the way. 

Keep an open mind and a desire to learn, and success is already yours.