For all of us afraid of “failing,” I found this great article by Richard Fenton: Secrets for Turning Failure Into Success. It contains the most useful ideas I’ve seen on how to recast failure as an asset and a goal instead of something to be avoided. It’s the change in attitude I was suggesting as necessary in yesterday’s post.

This fits completely into my philosophy of using every experience as a learning opportunity and a chance to help other people. The more I “fail,” the more I learn and the closer I am to my own goals. This is what I mean when I say “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly.” I learn as I take action, and action moves me further along my path, leaving no chance for stagnation, entropy, stuck-ness.

Actually, I have come to believe that there are no mistakes or failures, there are only opportunities to learn and grow. My challenge is how to help others get to that place. Now this article gives me concrete, immediately usable ideas.

I’m going to try some of them, like “Set ‘No’ Goals” and “Intentionally Increase Your Failure Rate.” Pretty radical reformulation of failure, isn’t it?

I hope you’ll consider reading this article and trying some of Fenton’s ideas when you’re feeling stuck in your job search and reluctant to risk any more rejection or disappointment. As Richard Nelson Bolles says in Chapter 2 of What Color is Your Parachute* (the granddaddy of all job search guides), a typical job hunt goes like this:

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO YES

In fact, rejection is a normal, natural and to-be-expected and welcomed part of job search. Yes, it’s hard to accept that when you’re in the middle of the search and have gotten yet another notification that you weren’t selected to go on to the next phase or have received absolutely no response from your phone call or e-mail or application. Those “NO” responses are bringing you one step closer to your ‘right fit’ job or work.

Fenton suggests celebrating your failures. I’ll add: Celebrate those rejections. Say “oh, good! One more NO and one step closer to my new job!” or “Thank goodness I got that NO – it means I’m actively out there, engaged in the search and on my path!”

Give it a try. What can you lose, except unhappiness?

ยท 1999 Edition, Ten Speed Press: Berkeley, CA