We’re all human and part of this is accepting that many times, things don’t go as planned. Maybe there’s a time you reacted to a challenging situation in a way you now cringe about, maybe it was a complete and unavoidable accident, maybe it was a small mistake or maybe even a bigger one. But how can we grow professionally from these mistakes?
When we think of our career journey, we often hope things will go smoothly but let me tell you – those bumps on the road, those curve balls and those moments of failure are all just as much part of your career as any shiny new internship, job or professional achievement. Mistakes are a normal part of a learning curve, both in professional life and life in general.
When we look at our bumps on the road from new different angles, we have a chance to grow. We can develop our resilience, expand our problem-solving skills, thicken our skin and really get to know & grow ourselves. After all, there’s a reason why interviewers may ask you to recall a time when things didn’t go to plan – what they really want to know is how you developed through that challenge, and whether you have a growth mindset!
A growth mindset is a type of mindset anyone can build up – it’s all about being open to learning new things, valuing feedback, allowing yourself to make mistakes and always returning to the positive lessons you can take to grow and develop yourself.
What’s the secret to turning our mistakes into a positive lesson? The quick answer is… it takes time to develop this growth mindset. After all, most of us don’t feel good when reflecting our mistakes (far less working through them!) but instead, feelings of shame, stress and panic come in and sometimes overwhelm our thoughts. Here at King’s Careers & Employability, we’re here to help you on your career journey and help you towards a growth mindset.
You can start your journey towards a growth mindset today with our top 5 tips:
1. Focus on your resilience. Mistakes often take a toll on our confidence. So it’s good to build your resilience so that when something might want to knock you down, you have the emotional tools to build yourself back up and manage the unexpected! Explore our Keats section on Resilience with heaps of supportive resources, and check out our video with King’s Entrepreneurship Institute about Resilience.
2. Talk, talk talk! Connecting with others is a great way to realise that you’re not alone and that really, we all make mistakes. It might sound scary at first, but try having a positive, open conversation with someone such as a friend or a colleague about ‘when things didn’t really go to plan’. This way we can de-stigmatise the idea of failure and learn to learn from them.
3. Watch videos on LinkedIn Learning. King’s Careers & Employability has a great LinkedIn Learning collection all about Developing a Growth Mindset, where you can dive deeper into the topic of personal growth. Make a cup of tea, curl up on the sofa and press play!
4. Listen to how others learned from their mistakes. There are so many podcasts all about developing a healthy relationship with failure and mistakes. Have a look at some:
Learning to Fail
How To Fail by Elizabeth Day
5. One step further: make a “CV of mistakes”! So while we don’t necessarily recommend sending this in with your job applications, you can definitely take benefit of the learning exercise. Try facing those mistakes and failures, and write them up proudly, as you would do in a CV! When looking at your proud list of mistakes, remind yourself of how much you have grown since then, and include the new skills and attributes you developed from them.
It’s time to embrace the moments that make us grow!
Now go ahead and check out Part 2 of the series… with some real-life stories of career mistakes and what lessons they contained!