How I Changed My Failure into a Win

About a year and a half ago, my confidence took a solid beating. I had lost a job that I thought I was going to have a future with. Then, I got sucked into the tiresome cycle of temporary assignments that just generally wore on me. I was tired of starting over. I was tired of being underutilized. I was tired of having to go through the stressful cycle of job hunting each time the assignments ended. My resume was lost in the ATS black hole and being rejected interview after interview was not helping whatever little faith I had left in myself. I let questions like “what did I do wrong?” or “why am I not good enough?” or “why doesn’t anyone want to hire me?” torture me on the many nights that insomnia took over. Staring at the four walls of my apartment with the feelings of fading hope for the future put me in a dark place. I was defeated.

The negativity I felt about myself was the reason why I couldn’t move forward. Whether the failures or shortcomings were true or not, I let them waste valuable time I could have spent building myself up. Eventually, I let my “like-a-phoenix” mentality take over and I rose from those ashes. This time I was going to be the one telling people who I was and what I could do, not the other way around. I would be the one defining myself. I didn’t want to settle for something that didn’t feel right just so I could be employed on a permanent basis. I didn’t want to put myself in a situation that completely buried whatever little spark I had left. I was meant for more.

My newly found motivation caused me to reevaluate myself. I took the time to remember what I loved about working, my industry, and business as a whole. I considered what I wanted to be known for in the industry (at the time, I didn’t realize I was branding myself). Instead of trying so hard to fit neatly in the box that job descriptions put candidates in, I decided to go rogue. I brought my knowledge and experience to life. I gave it a voice and a purpose.

At first I gained momentum by sharing thought-provoking questions in relevant online groups. I was consistent and kept the conversation going. I made myself available to network with people further. Eventually, these conversations sparked my need to share my learnings. From there, my blog was born and I dedicated time to write to it regularly, sometimes even up to five times a week. I realized that the blog was a good portfolio builder but how was I going to get the word out? Social media was the answer and I ended up coming across a whole new world of business and social learning because of it. Discovering this social side of business changed the way I saw business overall. I was entranced.

The right person saw what I was doing and a few weeks later I landed a job. After achieving the ultimate goal I was aiming for (employment), I would have thought all of the effort I was putting in would eventually die down. Little did I know, all of these things became a part of who I am. What I did while I was trying to regain footing after my failure ended up changing my work ethic. It created my personal brand. It gave me something to be accountable for. More importantly, it allowed me to add value to my employer on a consistent basis.

Doing this has afforded me so many opportunities, personally and professionally, that gives me a sense of pride. I stopped waiting for people to tell me whether they thought I was ready or not and consistently made myself a better person on my own. I’m impressed with how much I grew once I broke through the barriers. I’m ecstatic that an employer not only saw this in me, but I’m also glad that they help keep that fire burning within myself. I’m grateful for my failure because it’s the reason why I am who I am today.

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10 thoughts on “How I Changed My Failure into a Win

    1. Thanks, Christopher! I may be happily employed for a year now but these feelings are all still fresh in my mind. There are plenty of times during my job search that I was so burnt out and ready to give up. I hear the same emotions reflected in some of my candidates’ voices on a daily basis and I can completely empathize. It’s hard to feel inspired when you feel rejected and knocked down but I think more people would have luck if they pursue the things they are passionate about rather than trying to “fit in” with what they see on the job board market. It may take a bit of extra effort but more people will be attracted to the individuals who show that spark.

  1. ChristopherinHR

    Agree. People often “give away” power by attempting to fit into another’s paradigm or picture. Stand up, stand out and move on. It is difficult: I know. But I also know there’s a price you pay to sell your soul, and so much to be gained by being you. Excellent write – and advice – Ash.

  2. Pingback: Best Blogs 9 Aug 2013 | ChristopherinHR

  3. AuthenJen

    Love it! especially the last part about staying with it long enough to really find what you love, and put yourself out there doing it! Big challenges need big changes…

  4. Thank you for sharing this Ashley. I am in the midst of exactly what you are describing having lost my position in November. My refocus began a few months ago and I too started blogging and sharing my experiences. I have made an impact and have several opportunities in front of me right now. It’s nice to know I am not alone and your story will hit home with many like us. I hope folks realize the power within themselves when faced with adversity and understand they can come out even better in the end. Thank you!

  5. Pingback: Overcoming Professional Failures | The Social HR Connection

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