Career Now Series: Failing Forward

Warning: The journey to career success might not always be easy. In fact, there are times in which you are likely to fail. The important thing is failure does not mean the end. Failure does not mean that you’ve given up and it does not mean that you should go home. It doesn’t even mean that a particular career path is not the right one for you! We need to make serious changes to how we view failure.


As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”  Often, failure helps us learn which ultimately makes us stronger when it comes to dealing with other obstacles along the way.

Not quite convinced? We don’t blame you – so let’s break it down.

Failing Forward: How To Learn and Grow From Your Mistakes

Let’s say you spent hours on an application for a specific job. You whittled down your resume until it was perfect. You wrote – and rewrote – your cover letter until it captured exactly why you deserved the job. You sent it in and just knew they’d bring you in for an interview. But then…..they didn’t.

We’ve all been there.

Instead of allowing that feeling of rejection to settle in and hold you back, take a moment to reflect on the process. Was there something you could have done differently? What action can you take now to improve your candidacy next time? Think about anything that might have held you back or anything another candidate might have had that gave them an edge. Be honest without being too hard on yourself.

Attachment vs. Commitment

There is a distinction between being committed to a goal and being attached to a goal. Being committed to a goal means being devoted and dedicated, but it also indicates a certain level of flexibility and willingness to change course if things don’t go as planned. On the other hand, being attached to a goal implies a certain level of emotional involvement and inability to adapt to a different outcome. Being committed to your goal gives you the freedom to be open to what arises, all the while exuding gravitas and confidence. Being attached ignites worry, specific expectations, and self-doubt. Are you starting to see the difference?

Commitment: Ignites action. Indicates persistence that is fueled by purpose. Driven by inspiration.

Attachment: Ignites fear. Indicates a certain kind of “tunnel vision” in which only one outcome is acceptable.

In order to “fail forward,” we must be able to rebound from obstacles that wander into our path. Understanding that things might not go how we originally intended or that your path might require some extra twists and turns, is the first step to accepting a misstep and moving on from it. How will you learn to fail forward?

Career Now | Podcast Series

Want to learn more? The #Passion2Action podcast takes an even closer look at what it means to fail forward. Our partners at Why Millennials Matter post new episodes each week, featuring bonus information. Tune in and tweet us your thoughts or questions – tag them #CareerNow!



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