Failure Will Not Fail Me

Failures and mistakes play a vital role in helping employees learn and grow. This week’s Women in Technology forum centered around a panel of women in leadership roles in the automotive industry, and more specifically Mercedes-Benz. Neeta Salvi, Judy Brunson and Andrea Case answered questions and spoke on the experiences that led them to where they are in their careers today. Each of them have held different roles, but each of these roles led them to playing a major part in their organization’s success.  Though the panelist talked about their career successes, a large portion of the panel focused on the fact that in every career there are many milestones of success and failure. From their stories, these are some key points I took away from the panel:

“I will not fear failure.”

You cannot fear failure. You could take every correct step along the way and still failure is sometimes inevitable. Even the best and most experienced will make a mistake, but what matters is not focusing on the failure itself but instead focusing on how you can use it to learn and grow. If you do fail, analyze what happened, know why it happened and know what you could/would do differently next time. Know how you can improve and what can be done to prevent this mistake in the future. Perseverance, learning, holding yourself accountable and accepting failure might be some of the hardest things women and men will face during their life. However, if you can learn and adapt you will be able to achieve success.

“The next step is not always the higher step.”

These days most people’s pride comes from their career and what they have achieved in life. Sometimes that path is filled with success, but everyone has the occasional hiccup. Sometimes that hiccup will cause a set back in a career. The next step in one’s career striving towards success is not always going to be a higher-level position, and occasionally a lateral or step backwards will pave the way for their end game. Just because you have to take a step back does not mean you have failed, but it means you have more learning and growing to do before you can take the higher step you had planned.

“You need to be your own advocate.”

There are so many social pressures women in the workforce face each day. You truly must be your own advocate and have your support system and mentors in your life. Self-confidence can help you grow and be a stronger person in so many facets of life, but especially your career. You should constantly focus on your skills and know what you bring to the table and constantly work to nurture those strengths. Knowing what you bring to the table and how you can positively impact your organization and using that knowledge to build yourself up is an important part of advocating for yourself.

This panel was a group of strong women in leadership who had all faced failure and overcame the challenges that came with it to, in time, become even more skilled in their careers. Everyone faces failure at one point; you cannot fear it, but you must accept it. If success was easy, everyone would do it. You must work hard for success and eventually, it will happen.