Failing Forward: Improve Your Career by Overcoming the Big “F” | Elizabeth Hague | Skillshare

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Failing Forward: Improve Your Career by Overcoming the Big “F”

teacher avatar Elizabeth Hague, Co-Founder, Director of Brand Marketing

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Welcome to Failing Forward


    • 2.

      The Basics of Failing Forward


    • 3.

      Changing Your Mindset Around Success and Failure


    • 4.

      Basics of a Flexible Career Building Strategy


    • 5.

      The Right Way to Measure Success and Failure


    • 6.

      Practicing Failure in a Safe Space


    • 7.

      Using Logic Based Thinking Moving Forward


    • 8.

      Additional Tips and Important Re caps


    • 9.

      Special Message from the Teacher


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About This Class

The Big “F” = Failure.

Have you ever felt paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake? Is your time limited and precious, making any failure feel fatal to your growth? This class is for you.

In this class we’ll be practicing techniques Innovative Executives the world over use to turn mistakes into ideas.  Our best and brightest companies are lead by the world’s top innovative thinkers that are proud to embrace continuous learning, (i.e. failing fast and moving on).

I’ll be giving you a peek into the mindset that will take you from a ordinary employee into an innovative team member ready to grow their career. I’ll be giving you advice on how to successfully handle failure, learn from mistakes, and how to build your courage to take more calculated leaps.

It’s time to ditch the fear and start making career decisions like a world class pro!

  • We’ll tackle the basics of a flexible career skill-building strategy, lifelong learning and de-stigmatize The Big “F”
  • You’ll gain new perspective and skills to move through failures faster
  • You'll reduce time spent worrying about things you can’t control
  • We’ll also discuss a more thoughtful way to measure success and failure
  • You'll hone the skills needed to take your failures and turn them into successes for next time

This class is all levels, but with an expectation that the student has experienced issues with failure and shows a strong desire to build their career better, faster, and more efficiently. This class also gives you a peek behind the curtain of what makes innovative thinkers tick.

If you want to grow your career but are constantly second guessing yourself, I’ll teach you to ditch the fear and move forward, using failure as a platform for success.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Elizabeth Hague

Co-Founder, Director of Brand Marketing


Co-Founder and Director specializing in Brand, Marketing, and Communications. Founding member of Wildcat Echo. Award-winning. Book published. Georgia State University invited collegiate speaker. Community voted one of the "Most Remarkable Women in Georgia" by Ellis. Nearly fifteen-year brand-driven marketing career shows unparalleled out-of-the-box thinking. I love sharing what I know. I can't wait to teach you!

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1. Welcome to Failing Forward: Hi everyone and thank you so much for joining me today to take failing forward. I'm really excited that you're interested in doing a mindset change around what failure really is in order to productively move your career forward and continue to learn and experiment along the way. My name is Elizabeth Hague. I'm a brand and marketing expert who's been book-published on this topic, even detailing my own epic failures publicly. In order to help other people feel more comfortable with the idea of failing and using those failures to move them forward in their career trajectories. I've won awards, I've been given accolades, I am book published, and I was recently community voted and won one of Georgia's most inspirational women by LS. I'm an expert on this topic. I'm really excited to bring this information to you guys to help you boost your careers, feel more successful and overall just enjoy your life and your career trajectory a lot more moving forward. I can't wait to teach you about how to identify opportunities, how to continue to change your mindset around a failure, and to see the positivity where sometimes most of us can't see it. I'm going to teach you techniques like moving beyond discomfort, identifying and looking for new opportunities in tough spots. How to mitigate the fear behind a failure itself and giving you an inside look on an executive mindset that embraces fear, challenge, change, and uses it to innovate their future career goals and trajectories. Thank you so much. I'm so excited that you're here and I cannot wait to see you in the next video. 2. The Basics of Failing Forward: Hey everyone, welcome aboard and thank you so much for being a student in my class. I am really excited to teach you guys. I'm so thrilled to have the opportunity to mentor you through a subject that's terrifying, scary, passionate, but still really important to wrap our minds and our philosophies around. Before we begin, let's go ahead and shape your expectations on a deeper level and help you put yourself in that bright mindframe to think about failure and failing forward and talk about something that people have tendency to really avoid talking about. The first thing worth addressing as the overall mindset differences between someone who is terrified of career failure and someone who uses failure to fuel their career forward. Throughout our experience, I'll be talking quite a bit about the decision-making skills between something I call an associate career mindset and an innovative executive mindset. I'm using these terms a little loosely to fit a broad range of people and various stages of their careers. Let me explain those ideas a little bit further before we start moving forward with the course. When I say something like associate, that applies to anyone who hasn't quite reached a place in their career that folds in experimentation, curiosity, flexibility, or the experience of failing forward. They're pretty much the type of person that you would expect to be somewhat rigid, maybe they struggled to make change, sometimes they try to focus mostly on perfection. If this sounds like you don't feel bad, this is something that I've had to deal with myself in my own career. It's not a negative, it can be a really good positive, but that feeling could apply to a range of people. For example, an associate level experience with failing forward someone that is classically in that set would be maybe someone in an office setting craving the ability to level up their career, but they just haven't been exposed to long-term learning, they're scared to make that leap because they're afraid of failing. Or it could refer to someone that's super risk-adverse, maybe they're a freelancer or even a small business owner, or probably even a new job seeker that's super ambitious, they're looking to step it up a notch, but again, they're just terrified. They don't have the experience, they don't know what to do with failure. What I mean an innovative executive mindsets that mostly refers to professionals who hold a measure of flexibility, who embrace failure as a feature in their work, and they also see failure as an opportunity to learn. They're not as concerned about perfectionism, they embrace challenges, they are excited about learning new things, and they're not afraid of failing. Most of the time, these people have already been exposed to the ideas that we're discussing in this course, so failing forward isn't really a new idea to them. I wouldn't expect a ton of people that are experts in failing forward taking this course. You guys are in great company together. An innovative executive mindset think innovators, thought leaders, or generally just a great boss somewhere who might have taken the time to actually listen to you. These are the type of people who value change as a learning experience to improve maybe things like their career, their products, their companies, possibly a work environment. These are also the type of people that make great bosses, great coworkers, and they're the type of person others look up to to help them generally problem-solve. I'm going to pause and just give you a personal little insight take. I honestly believe that more people in every stage of their career should look towards embracing a mindset change that facilitates better working environments for everybody, so failing forward is a huge part of that, not being afraid of taking a risk. Not every boss or a coworker embraces change and failure, and even if they do, they often struggle to fail forward. But the ones that do fail forward are mostly sought after for their incredible abilities in their careers. This is the perfect place for us to pause so that you can go ahead and download the PDF that we have provided in the class. We'll be using that along the way from here on out to start exercises to keep you on track and also looking at your mindset changes as they move forward. Go ahead and pause this recording, I'll still be here when you get back, go ahead and download your PDF. In your PDF, turn to your very first exercise. In this exercise, I want you to write down how you currently feel about failure in your career. The reason we're going to do this is because we're going to refer to it later. Before we even learn anything about failing forward or how to navigate failure unexpected or otherwise, go ahead and write down, what does failure look like to you right now? Whatever your personal take on it is just the honest with where you are and we'll use this as a base and come back to it later. Perfect. Now that that's all taken care of, I'd love to open a real dialogue with you guys about failure so we can set the stage a little bit for the rest of the work that we're going to be doing together. Let's talk more about our mindset around failure. The big F, the thing that nobody wants to talk about, it's embarrassing, it's crazy. How can we change our mindset a little bit? In this thought experiment, let's start shaping the definition of failure into something that's more flexible to help you with your career building. People really dislike talking about this. The big F is considered a dirty word in every single career that you could possibly think of, so our culture has trained us to only celebrate wins and we have a tendency to sweep losses completely under the rug and not address them. There are swathes of subsets of us even more susceptible to problems like imposter syndrome or a severe lack of competence in job performance, or even terrified of reaching for that next career goal. Failure has become deeply personal and super shameful to a lot of us, pushing us more toward perfectionism and a heck ton of stress. This is an amazing quote,, I love this quote by Reid Hoffman. He's the founder of LinkedIn and this quote really hits home on the principle of failing forward. The sentiment rings true about the learning process behind failing forward, but not everything should actually be perfect. But if you wait too long on something that sometimes you miss the boat completely, there is a sense of magic in doing something that you know is bigger than yourself and you know that in order to move forward, you might need community input in order to really improve something good, bad, or ugly. There are times in your career when your own skills can carry you only so far until you maybe meet a crossroads where the element of trial and error is more vital than the perfection inside of a vacuum. I want to propose in this class that we focus on mindset change around the idea of what failure really means. Instead of seeing failure as a roadblock, my goal for you is to see failure as simply a part of the growth and learning process for your career. I want everyone here to be striving to exemplify that innovative executive mindset and to push towards looking at failure as an opportunity for learning. Wherever you are in your career right now, I know you want to grow, I know you want to overcome the fear of failure, and I propose that we start using failure to fuel the next round of your accomplishments, whatever those accomplishments may mean for you. To do that, our conversation around what failure really is needs to change. We need encouragement to see the value in something we traditionally have been told is totally useless, totally invaluable. Our biggest takeaway, our most important idea is forming a new relationship at the concept of leveraging a mistake as a learning opportunity to improve your career overall, and it's time to fail forward successfully. If we continue to embrace the stigma of failure as it is right now, we're not as open to learning from our mistakes and we're not open to applying what we learned to future attempts. We currently view every imperfect attempt as an excuse to quit because it's stressful and it's embarrassing, and trust me, I totally get it because the way that we're thinking about failure rate now, those things ring true. A lot of us feel deeply that once you experience a stalling failure, then it's not worth attempting again, that's way too embarrassing and too crippling. In reality, experiencing something that didn't end up exactly how you wanted it to be in your career is a golden opportunity to make choices. It's a chance to ask yourself, "Well, that way didn't quite work, are there any new doors open to me and what can I do to make this better, knowing what I now know. " You cannot learn without failure, no one becomes an expert overnight, failure is a feature of learning, it's a part of it. Adopting an innovative executive mindset means taking the time to take stock of how to improve. It also takes practice, patience, diligence, and the ability to learn from our mistakes. Because of stigma, the majority of executives out there do not embrace failure as a feature. Many people in high powered positions hold on to the fear of failing, suffering from imposter syndrome, and fear of being seen as unworthy or in competence. But that will not be you. You are proactively advancing yourself in your career by questioning now whether there's a better way to grow, to shape, to maneuver. Luckily for you there absolutely is, and it's a proven technique that many successful innovative entrepreneurs, CEOs, cultural icons have used to advance their careers into something they're passionate and satisfied with. Guys, that's it for this lesson, but I will see you in the next video where we talk about changing your mindset around success and failure. Can we see it's there? 3. Changing Your Mindset Around Success and Failure: Hi, everyone. Welcome back to video Number 3. Today, we're going to be talking about changing your mindset around both success and failure. Let's talk about defining success and failure to help better shape your mindset around failing forward in your career. Let's gear our discussion mostly towards redefining failure as a whole to help you see it in a more positive light. The definition of failure in your career really should not be centered on a devastating loss, a big mistake, or a crippling fear. Instead, it's time we start positively correlating experimentation to the experience of failure, and eliminating the uneasiness around taking risks in your career and helping you move forward. Inability to learn from a mistake is truly the riskiest thing you could ever do for yourself or even in your career development. A lack of learning dooms you to potentially repeating your mistakes in peaker and more terrifying ways, and often, it keeps you stuck in a rut. You'll struggle to advance in your career, you'll struggle to see opportunities, and your scope ends up being narrow when looking for new career advancement opportunities. See a positive opportunity to experiment when you once saw a crippling failure is far more successful way to grow your career overall. The definition of success is whether or not you're capable of looking and seeing where an opportunity is. It's not about perfection, it's all about accepting where you are right now and assessing your skills and moving those forward in a logical way. Those around you right now in your career and your life, they're very likely not thinking in this manner. Most people really spend a lot of time ignoring their mistake. A lot of people really are considering that failure could be a potential for a lifetime learning experience, and a lot don't see the benefit of always being curious. Adapting a more accepting and logical mindset that doesn't fear change or challenge, instantly gives you a leg up in the candidate pool. By adopting a logical, open, and learning mindset, failure fades away and experimentation and curiosity replace your overall negative outlook surrounding failure. It also helps to eliminate your uneasiness. I would like to pause and re-examine your personal thoughts around failure. In your PDF, navigate to Exercise Number 2. This exercise is all about viewing failure from a positive lens. What are some ways you can improve on your perception of failure now? To help you along in this exercise, let's examine some specific real-world examples. Take for example, Nike. Nike was started in 1964 and has maintained its brand as a style icon in the fitness world. Very innovators, they're trendsetters, and they're influencers in fitness fashion marketplace. However, it's no surprise that over Nike's lifespan, they've had to keep pace with emerging competitors, downturn economies, rapidly changing technology. Can you imagine 1964 to now, that's a lot of change. They've also had to deal with demanding societal narratives that have drastically changed throughout the years as well. But you don't keep your frown by staying stagnant, you don't keep it by avoiding experimentation, and you don't keep it by being afraid of failure. Nike has produced thousands upon thousands of products that have been everything from brilliant hits to complete and utter failures, yet you don't see them folding under the pressure of change. You see them keeping pace and constantly thinking ahead. Some of you may remember the wearable tech craze. Nike produced something called the Nike FuelBand. The Nike FuelBand was a fitness heart rate tracker and it was in the form of a wearable watch, just like everything else that was coming out during that time as a huge craze. Nike was attempting to cash in on this by using their brand name and producing a product that was hot at the time. This seemed like a total win for Nike, why wouldn't Nike produce a fitness tracker? Obviously, this is a great idea. Nike claimed that this watch would track all of your fitness, calories, steps, heart rate, and that they do it really well. They put their name on it, they let it fly. Unfortunately, the Nike FuelBand led to a massive lawsuit, because lo and behold, Nike's technology wasn't exactly delivering results. Turns out that users actually found the measurement technology in this band was wildly inaccurate. One lawsuit later, Nike loses and they end up having to pay out millions of dollars. I'm sure a lot of you are expecting that this story ends right here, that they'd ever remade the Nike FuelBand, they let it go, and just crumbled under the pressure and got out of the game. Nike didn't actually do that. They took a devastating and epic failure and understood and analyzed what wasn't right, and they took the time and the gumption to relaunch the product with a trusted competitor with each watch now costing $400 a pop. How did they do it? Just in a short amount of time after their epic failure, they connected with Apple to make a Nike+ fitness watch that utilized GPS and cellular service to fix the initial issues of what the FuelBand lacked in accuracy and reporting. Knowing that the Nike FuelBand hurt their overall brand image, they saw an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and utilize the chance to do it better, and with a name backing that other people trusted. You will find that nearly every major name brand that you love, has experienced the same level of disappointing lack of success. Same goes for celebrities and public figures and stores. Every successful person or company has had to learn, confront what they don't know, and then reroll their learnings into things like new jobs or roles, products, services, or even experiences. Every company from Airbnb to personal celebrities like Michael Jordan and Netflix and back again. Actually, Michael Jordan is a really cool example. Take, for example, what Michael Jordan has to say about failure in general. In his full quote, he goes into detail about his experience with failure, so I'm going to read you the full quote. "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and I've missed. I failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed." All right, guys, I will let that mindset change start to sink in and we'll take a short break while you work on Exercise Number 2 in your PDF. In the meantime, let's do something super fun. Can you remember a failed product from a major corporation? Post your favorite in the comment section below this video. I posted my favorite failed product in the comment section below to get us kicked off and started. I really can't wait to hear your thoughts, I think this will be really fun. All right, guys, I will see you in the next video. 4. Basics of a Flexible Career Building Strategy: Hello everyone. Welcome back. Today we're going to be talking a lot about the basics of Flexible Career Building Strategy. In the last video, we've talked a bit about starting to change our overall outlook on what failure really is. In this video lesson, we're going to build on that by looking more deeply into the concept of flexible long-term learning and how we can preemptively eliminate feelings of failure moving forward. We're also going to chat about how to use flexibility and a mindset change around failure and start applying it to our overall careers. Now that we're gearing up to see failure as an opportunity, let's focus on defining what the opportunity means specifically for you by converting the idea of failure into opportunity while leaning into something called long-term learning. I'm sure you've probably heard me even say it in the very first video, I've mentioned it a couple of times, long-term learning. What does this actually mean? This is just a fancy term for being flexible. It's all about being open to the possibility of learning something new to keep you motivated in an upward direction in your career. Rather than being obsessed with perfectionism and the potential of being hit by devastation when things don't turn out perfectly, long-term learning suggests taking a step back, looking at your career as a whole, and not just parts. Instead of hyper focusing on things like finding the perfect job title, or your ranking in society, or how much of a salary is attached to a particular position, it's all about looking at your career as a stepping stone towards building happiness and satisfaction. This is your opportunity right now in this class to ask yourself what interests you about your current career and what you see yourself doing in the future, let's five or 10 years from now. In the grand scheme of things, stepping back and looking at the bigger picture is something that most of us rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to do for ourselves. We often are stuck moving from job to job without really asking ourselves what it is we're really building towards. What are we looking to do? Without an overall focus, it can seem very difficult to feel successful. Simultaneously, any bomb, any trip, any roadblock or failure feels twice as painful because it just reminds you that you're not sure what direction you're actually headed in. In your PDF, I want you guys to go ahead and navigate to exercise number 3, there's a section called holistic career, as in your whole career. Now would be the perfect time to look that over. In this exercise, I want to encourage you to focus on your career purpose rather than maybe one small career segment such as job title, cash. The reason behind this exercise is to help you break away from focusing on something narrow and thinking about what something broad looks like in terms of success and failure. I want you guys to practice folding in experimentation and being open to opportunity and engaging long-term learning. Why is doing this important? Why don't we just focus on the money or the job title?That's what makes us happy. Not always and I think you guys are going to agree with me that sometimes cash and sometimes a career title doesn't really give you the fulfillment that you're looking for. It's important to step back from just hyper examining tiny segments or narrow aspects of your career. Things like, well, I want to earn six figures or I want to be the boss. Those items need to take a back seat while you think about what you're shooting for over the very broad, long-term. Things like maybe more free time. Maybe you want more family time or more career satisfaction. Maybe you want people to value you, or maybe you just in general don't want to deal with any of that career stuff and you're looking for overall life happiness. This exercise is all about thinking in broad terms and in a more personal life, examining what your overall focuses is. What you want to accomplish in your career and your life moving forward. What motivates you to get up every day, and go to work, and do the things you need to do, and come home, and have a great life? What are those motivations? This exercise will help you think broadly to help encourage you to see the opportunities in your career that will be much more fulfilling in general to help you fulfill your personal goals, and to hopefully see the potential of failure as an experience that will boost you to better reaching your end goal, whatever that goal may be. Say, for example, your hypothetically in a creative career right now, maybe let's say you're a graphic designer. Let's say in the hypothetical goal of this particular scenario, being a graphic designer means that you want to be more respected in the industry. That means leveling up your career, advancing your career. You take steps to go ahead and start doing that. But you're finding that as a graphic designer, it's crazy competitive in your field. You can't seem to find hiring managers that take you more seriously. You don't know what's really going wrong. Maybe you're not quite sure how to actually fix this mess. Stepping back and asking yourself, so what interests me about this particular career path? What do I want to accomplish overall? How do I gain recognition in my industry? Asking those broader questions will help you find the real motivation behind what you're shooting for and what activities will help you move forward to accomplish a larger goal outside of maybe just titles or salaries. Say you do some thinking and you find that although you love being in the creative industry, your biggest motivation is to see your work in the real world influencing people. That is going to help you feel respected and recognized in your industry. You love the idea of being a reliable part of a marketing team, someone that anyone can rely on to get the job done. From there, it's a really logical leap. Easy question to ask yourself, I'm I interested in influencing people more? Does persuasion maybe extend beyond just visual design? Where does my interest really go? How far is it going to take me? In this situation, you might find yourself leaning more towards marketing and communication roles that you'd never even considered before. So maybe the being the person that generates the big creative ideas is fascinating to you, and you don't actually need to be the person designing everything by yourself, and boom, a whole new world of possibilities, roles, salaries, titles, exciting work, it all opens up for you. Things like maybe associate creative director, possibly creative director in the future, creative marketing director, and so on and so on. Because your goal is to be seen, and recognized, and to help, and be reliable, and for people to respect you. Being flexible as a whole and understanding what those motivations are, it's not just a career title or a salary, it's now something more fulfilling for you. This is the exercise I want you guys to do for yourself. Taking a step back to look at your overall interests and motivations will help you break the habit of hyper segmentation. It's going to help you open your mind and the thinking of things in a broader picture. It also reduces the risk of traditional feelings of failure or that big F because you're giving yourself the opportunity to explore an idea before actually completely committing to it, or maybe even telling other people what you're thinking about. So instead of chasing down one title which feels very, very narrow, you now have the ability to test an idea out, talk to people when you're ready to, find people in similar situations and pick their brains. Explore safely before committing a 100 percent to a career path. Let's go back to our graphic design example and show how flexible learning and experimentation and a safe space really the matters. Say, for example, this graphic designer looked at more traditional roles like some of the things that we listed off, like creative marketing manager, maybe. After exploring something in marketing, they discover that they don't really deal directly with creative as much as maybe our graphic designer is used to or even comfortable with. Maybe that idea totally turns them off and they discover something about themselves that they love to design. Maybe they don't like managing people, maybe they're not excited about the possibility of directing creative instead of actually being the one creating the idea, or the product, or the design. They experimented it, they talked to people in the similar positions and got the real information they needed, and they hated the thought of it. They hated it. So it double confirmed for them that their desire to focus on active design roles, like maybe say art director, is exactly where they wanted to be. It's still influences people. It's still scratches the itch of being an industry leader in a fun and interesting way, but they just weren't excited about not being able to design anymore. Art director is perfect. I'm going to ask you something; do you think that this is a failure or is it a success? Because they explored an opportunity in a safe, risk-free environment, found what they liked, maybe find a lot of things that they didn't like. They ultimately save themselves from investing a ton of time and energy and commitment into a career that would absolutely totally burn them out and they'll make them feel like, oh, I wasted a lot of time. I'd say that that's a total success. That's all flexible learning, lifetime learning, curiosity, experimentation, willing to run into a roadblock, make a decision about it, leverage that to move you forward in your career, little to no risk. They experimented, they learned, they applied it, and it saved them a ton of time and a lot of heart ache in the future. Just giving them a clear road map towards leveling up in a way that it actually make them happy. Honestly, who knows? Maybe in 10 years they'll get tired of just design. Maybe they'll want the extra responsibility of managing people. Anything is possible and they'll always remember their experience from now and keep applying it forward. The inverse is true as well. If our graphic designer found a real passion for managing others, setting KPIs, measuring results, they'd already be on their way to a great learning experience, building up the skills they need to make a career change in the future, whether they stay in creative or move over to marketing, they would have used their time wisely and that would have made them happy as well. It's exciting because then you discover a path that's focused positively towards your individual goals. Quick recap. How do you define success and failure with this new overall, broader mindset? It starts with looking at the whole picture. Success is not always about climbing a ladder and it's not always just about money. Success has a lot more to do with your personal overall happiness. Adopting a holistic viewpoint and getting away from a hyper segmentation focus will help you see opportunities to explore without fear, to experiment in short bursts and to not be afraid of losing interest or feeling that you've "Wasted your precious time." In your PDF, I want you to navigate to exercise number 4 and here you'll have the opportunity to think through what success looks like to you in broader terms concerning your career. I want you to focus on overall happiness. What is your real goal? What would success look like to you in your life overall as it relates to your work? This is your special opportunity to think through what failure might look like in broad terms as well. Additionally, there's an area that asks if your ideas of failure have changed at all from our very first exercise, exercise number 1. I'd like for you to know what your thoughts are currently and then flip back to exercise number 1 and take a look at the mindset change that's already slowly starting to happen. In the comment section below, feel free to share and overall broad career goal, something that you're chasing overall. I'm going to start off, I'm going to post mine below. I think it'll be a lot of fun to see what everyone's looking forward to in their future. I cannot wait to chat with you guys. I can't wait to teach you the next segment. I'm really, really excited about the next video. It is all about the right way to measure success and failure and we are going to be talking about unexpected failures. So I can't wait to see you in the next video. 5. The Right Way to Measure Success and Failure: Hey everyone, welcome back. Today we're going to be talking about new ways to measure success and failure using an innovative executive mindset and how to handle unexpected failure. In your PDF go ahead and navigate to exercise number 5. Piggybacking off of our last exercise, exercise number 4, we'll continue to build on the idea of defining success while we edge into also identifying failure or roadblocks for yourself. This section is about looking at stopping points to help you examine where you're going, how you're feeling, and if you're still on the right path for you. I call these benchmarks or stopping points for examination, you'll see some examples of possible "success benchmarks" and "failure stopping points for flexible career paths overall, to help you get started on determining your own success benchmarks and your own failure stopping points." The point and purpose behind this exercise is to help you think through the process of achieving your overall career goals and taking stock of what you might need to stop and learn about before reaching your career benchmark, aka a career success. Keeping in mind that a career is ever evolving and ever-growing, that we never stop learning as we go, it's all about practicing setting points of reference now, that will help you navigate through whether or not you're even on the right track. Think of this exercise like a mini five-year general career plan to help you stay focused and to help you keep your goals insight. When you run into a roadblock along the way, we should consider that a stopping point so that you can learn before moving on. Even with unaccepted failures, you can choke those up to stopping points as well and give yourself time to learn, adjust, and continue to move forward. How you measure the success or failure of your career has a lot more to do with whether or not you're moving forward in a positive way. Keeping a loose tab on what you're doing helps you see areas of improvement and opportunities for growth. Again, remember, running into a failure or a roadblock is just a great opportunity to continue to stay positive, learn and move forward. Success is all about being able to keep momentum in your career. Failure is about being stuck. You want to keep learning and adjusting as you go and you never want to feel held down in a job role or a company. In our previous exercise, we've done a good job defining what success looks like to you personally. Now it's time to address the harder portion, how to identify and navigate failure in more depth. Measuring success and failure in your career path can be fairly easy when things are going really well. Things like setting a benchmark in this context can be pretty simple. If you've set goals, examined what you want to achieve, and you've made plans to achieve those goals, a failure benchmark can be as simple as saying, "Well, I am not quite reaching my goals because I may not be following through," say for example. We've done a great job defining failure in the context of long-term learning and innovative executive mindset. We've also done a great job of figuring out how to navigate a roadblock, seeing it more as a learning opportunity and a chance to make change. Setting a benchmark to check in on whether you're achieving your goals is extremely important. That's something that all of us should be doing. It helps you reduce your overall risk by staying aware of your career trajectory and it'll help prevent you from putting yourself in a high energy, high risk, very negative situation that feels devastating. Instead, you can calmly ask the right questions like, does this roadblock change anything about my plans? What can I learn from this situation? It's important to remember to set yourself appropriate stopping points overall, whether it's going well or maybe even not. You can't plan your entire life, but you can set some long-term goals that are achievable in say, a year or maybe a few years. But failure isn't always that easy or clear cut. We are living, breathing human beings and life sometimes just happens. Failure isn't exactly something that you can plan for. Let's talk about unplanned failure in the real-world and how we're going to manage feelings around that. Most of the time we feel extremely negative when we're faced with a roadblock of missed opportunity or maybe a major loss in our careers. It's frustrating, sometimes even infuriating, because the vast majority of us never give ourselves the opportunity to step back and set reachable, obtainable goals to even begin with. When you're not focused or aware of your own personal goals, failures will blindside you and they make you feel completely helpless and lost. Let's talk a little bit more about stamping down the fear of not reaching a goal. Sometimes failure does come to us in unexpected ways and in scenarios where it makes it really difficult to absorb or even see positive opportunity. Things like careers abruptly ending, a business failing, being laid off, or maybe a personal emergency that might undo something you've been working really hard on. Life is extremely unpredictable and when unexpected issues do arise, it can be confusing, draining and isolating. Fear easily creeps in as we have to relearn how to orient our life after a major catastrophe and it's important to give yourself time to adjust. You need to be able to step away from expectations of perfectionism as you learn to acclimate to a world that may look very different than the one that you're comfortable with or even planned for. Abrupt and emotionally difficult experiences need to be dealt with graciously, with forgiveness and logical thinking. Focusing on accounting for a clear direction is hard, turn difficult experiences, I know we all now. But it is important to not forget that even in the darkest times, there are opportunities for all of us to move forward, to focus and to build our strength to make things better for ourselves. The point and purpose of discussing on mindset like failing forward, is to help you build the skills you need to see things in a larger perspective so you're more capable of navigating something that might feel daunting or something that is extremely unexpected. In the context of your career, say a career win, loss, failure or success, I want to remind you that is not a personal reflection on the quality of person that you are. Yes, a career is important to our everyday happiness and ambition does drive us to want to always do better, but we personally are not our jobs. It's important to carry perspective with us during difficult times. Not running a successful business doesn't mean that you're a terrible person. It's also not an indicator that you're a terrible worker. Not gaining a raise or making a mistake in the presentation doesn't mean that you're less than your co-workers or your boss. It just means that you've been met with circumstances that you did not have immediate expertise or answers for that you couldn't immediately solve. It doesn't mean you won't ever gain the expertise you need, it doesn't mean that you'll never solve that particular problem that you're facing. Sometimes it simply means that you might need a break or to step back, examine and readdress it in the future. Sometimes you may not ever want to revisit the mistake to figure out what happened, that's okay too. Separating yourself from the professional failure can be easier said than done obviously, but it's vital to continue to be honest with yourself. Examine what went wrong take ownership of where the breakdown occurred and learn what you can do better in the future so you don't repeat that mistake when you feel the urge to try again one day. Every single person in this class is going to be different so no one person's journey through a devastating failure is going to be exactly the same. Some people rely on their communities to support them and others keep it secret and only their closest confidant may know. There's no perfect way to handle a difficult situation and we're all individuals who react to situations differently. What I confidently can say, is that overall, it's important to focus on learning, growing, and examining what avenues you need to take next. You don't allow a failure to stop you from moving forward in your career. Even the worst career failures are a gold mine, a valuable experience that others may never get insight on. A failure can and will give you a career leg up and experience overall. You will have special inside knowledge of how to process, develop, and lead yourself out of a confusing situation and into a new path forged by fire. That is completely priceless. If something is going to be hard, it may as well be hard for a reason. Learn, gather information and don't let the failure control your life. It doesn't reflect on the quality of person that you are or your potential in your future. The final ingredient of successfully navigating failure ends with setting realistic expectations that you know you can live up to overall. Paired with that it's also understanding when a failure is out of your control. If you're in control of your career trajectory, it's much easier to say, "Well, eventually, I want to become a VP of marketing at a corporate company in the next six months so I'm going to explore what skill set I need to develop and see if that fits me." It's smarter, it's trackable, it's logical, it's a goal you can successfully achieve over time. You can easily set benchmarks and expectations to keep track of where you're headed. When you rely on others, like most of us do, it's tough to predict what path to take or what might happen next to us. Setting realistic goals in this context means that you need to plan flexibility. For example, if you're going for an internal promotion, it's reasonable to create a plan for what to do if you do receive that promotion and make a plan for what you will do if you do not receive the promotion. Setting your intentions early and setting realistic benchmarks will help you feel more in control overall in your career, even when something feels directly out of your control. Guys, I'm going to leave you with a little bit of time to absorb. In the next video, we're going to take what we talked about today and move it into a safe space where we can practice failure. I'm going to give you a scenario that you'll walk through in the next video that helps you explore how to fail and how to set realistic expectations in a controlled and safe environment. I'm really looking forward to that and I cannot wait to see you in the next video. 6. Practicing Failure in a Safe Space: Hi everyone, and welcome back. Now, that you've got a great foundation set, you're ready to walk through a mock example of failure, to practice failure in a controlled environment. In your PDF, navigate to exercise number 6. We'll be practicing navigating a small failure in a very safe space. You'll see a mock example of a failed job seeker experience. Now, I chose this example because it's one of the most common career experiences that nearly all of us share. I know I've been through this, I'm sure you've probably been through this. I know that it'll be really fun and interesting to see how applying failing forward works in a scenario that's really familiar to all of us. The dreaded job hunting scenario. Looking for your next job ranks up there as one of the most stressful life experiences. This is the best place to practice flexible thinking, meeting a failure, overcoming that failure, and then move forward towards success. Together we'll talk about the goal that was set? What benchmark we were shooting for? What went wrong, where and how to learn from failure to apply it forward to a new strategy. Everything that we've been covering so far in this class, we're going to try and put that in a mock scenario so you can see how all of those parts function as a whole. Practicing in this format will also help you translate your skills to other scenarios in your career. Think of this as a mini training ground. Now, that we're all comfortable, let's dive in. Sam is our fictitious person. Sam is a job seeker looking to be challenged by new experiences in their career. Their current job does not offer advancement, and Sam feels unhappy due to a lack of education and a lack of responsibility. Where Sam is now, they feel under pressure, and they feel underappreciated. Sam knows it's time for a change and they're ready for new possibilities and new responsibilities in their life. With that comes the excitement of potentially more pay, and hopefully a better job title. After examining their skill set and comparing it to new job titles out on the market, Sam decides to shoot for a higher level title. That title pays upwards of $50,000 more than their current title, and has 25 percent more responsibility overall, and it taps into some of Sam's previous experiences working on the job while stretching their current skill set. Sam researchers more and prepares a new resume, and before stepping out into the job market, Sam highlights their experience, hoping that it translates to the new role. From there, Sam now starts applying to open positions that fit the career trajectory that Sam is now interested in pursuing. Each week Sam submits maybe 10-15 resumes, carefully looking for opportunities for new higher-level positions that match their work experience. Sam does this for three months with literally no call-backs. No call-backs means that there's no interest, and no interviews from hiring managers. Sam assesses and finds the roles they've been applying for have all been filled with other applicants. So far, the search for a new role is a complete failure. What should Sam do from here? This scenario is classic. It's probably likely pretty familiar to all of you. It's super frustrating, it's demoralizing, and it can knock you of course, especially if you need a job soon. It can be easy to wallow in feelings of inadequacy or fear and worthlessness. Despite that being the easier option, it's important to remember that there are alternative ways of thinking in this scenario. Throughout this course, we've been working really hard on embracing challenges as opportunities. Now's our opportunity to apply what we've been learning to a real life scenario that we've all experienced probably at least once in our lives. Here's what I would suggest. Stepping back, let's ask ourselves the most important question. What are some things that we might not know? Curiosity. Curiosity is the best place to start to look for opportunities and uncover unknowns. It's important to start looking at reasons why recruiters or hiring managers of companies didn't call Sam back. Is there an opportunity to improve something? What are the possible scenarios? Using the PDF and exercise number 6, I went ahead and filled out the benchmarks, and the stopping points so we have a point of reference to work from. From here, there's a space for you to fill out your own next steps. What should Sam do given all of the information? Feel free to pause here and fill in your ideas now. Are you back? Great. Here's what I suggest Sam does. Right now we don't have all the answers because we don't have inside information from the recruiters on their whys. But we do have some possibilities that we can explore that directly contribute to not being called back. Say for example, number 1. Sam is shooting for a higher-level job, but does Sam's resume really match the requirements needed to get those jobs? From here we can examine education, work experience, and typical requirements for those job postings and comb through Sam's resume again. Sam had done due diligence before trying to match their resume to these job postings, but now's the time to re-examine that to make sure it really is up to snuff. Are the keywords there? What about years of experience? What about seniority? Can you find anything across those job postings that are similar? Exploring this option, it would be just as simple as Sam maybe even rewording their resume to be easier for recruiters to read. Or if a skill is lacking, Sam could bulk up a skill set with extra certification. What if that's all fine though? What if everything is good? What's the second thing that we should explore? What else could be preventing Sam from getting callbacks? To dig deeper, we need to explore questions we don't directly have answers to. But there's a good way to solve that. It's time Sam talked to a networking group, or other professionals that hold that job title already. Going directly to the source, and networking, and asking for feedback and insight is a perfect way to discover the information that's hidden from you. Doing this requires being honest with yourself. You have to reveal and pinpoint information from respected sources so you can continue to explore, but you also have to back up your courage to get this done. If I were Sam, this would be 100 percent a worthy risk to embark on, asking strangers for their thoughts and opinions because it's the easiest solution to find all the answers we might not know. From here you'd gather all of your different results, because everyone is different and they all have different opinions. You look at them, and discover that you have probably a lot of new avenues to track down and work on, and that's how we fail forward. We don't let a roadblock prevent us from moving forward in our careers. We don't wallow in negative feelings of failure. We embrace the chance to learn more. We apply what we learned, and we move towards a solution. Failing forward is all about logic-based decision-making. Every person we look up to in the career world, the superstars, the Gary Vee's, the Sheryl Sandberg's, they've used the innovative executive mindset to keep curiosity and perspective at the forefront of everything they did. When met with a challenge, or an obstacle, or a hardship, they applied curiosity and logic to navigate through to a new technique or innovation on how to do something. Let's look at what some of the best and brightest leaders have had to say about failing forward. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, had great insight on the discovery process. Failing forward is mainly about employing curiosity, and examining what we don't know that lead us to a failure, and what we want to know in order to better ourselves in the future. In the same term, Gary Vaynerchuk, a no-holds barred, very blunt social media author, expert and CEO has touted failure as his biggest successes, because it's given him chances to grow his empire. He's written multiple articles on handling failure, the fear of failure, and using challenges to fail forward. Even inspirational political leaders like Nelson Mandela, view failure as the direct partner of success. Recognizing a chance to try again, rise up, and persevere is part of the path we walk towards great achievement, not only in our careers, but our personal lives. You could find hundreds and hundreds of these examples from nearly every person you admire, from political leaders, to entertainers, to authors. It's important to remember that this mindset is widespread among the successful and those who have fought their way towards what's right, and always remember that you're not alone in your journey in this. Let's do a check-in. Have you found this exercise refreshing? Was at difficult? Was an eye-opening? I've kicked off the comments below with my own thoughts. Let's discuss, and I look forward to talking with you in the next video. 7. Using Logic Based Thinking Moving Forward: Hey everyone and welcome back. Today we're going to be talking about mindset change and how to use logic-based thinking to move forward. In our previous video, we talked about how to navigate a mock failure situation. We applied our new mindset around failure to a situation that's commonly surrounded by feelings associated with failure. Things like frustration, anger, fear, and general upset. Today's lesson, we're going to talk more about how to break through those feelings in the moment when you're dealing with a real world failure in your own life. Being hit with an unexpected failure is tough to say the least, can throw you for a loop and it's just overall no fun to be honest. Using logic based thinking can help you focus on what feels more real in that moment and help you tamper down panic or confusion before you get too overwhelmed. This is all about taking a deep breath and asking yourself, what would I do differently next time? Before you let yourself get carried away when presented with a failure at the first thing to do is to pause, to ask yourself, what would you do differently next time? Take an immediate step back to allow yourself to ask a logical question, can be the stopping point you need to keep yourself focused and thinking clearly. If you're able to pause, sit, and reflect, it helps you pinpoint opportunities for improvement and ultimately help yourself move past the initial discomfort. It also prevents you from getting bogged down in minor. What if sad, it helps to keep you focused on what's really important. Which is again, the bigger picture, as with our example of Sam and their failure, the first course of action is to employ curiosity. Failing forward is all about embracing an ongoing learning experience. You'll never be trapped if you have a purpose to look forward to in what sometimes feels like utter chaos. The next stage is to be gracious with yourself. Your current skill set is exactly where it needs to be. We can't change the past except your skills where they are and take an interest in learning what you can do to elevate your skills over time to prevent further roadblocks. Just like Sam did, a CEO, for example, didn't start out as an expert and neither will you honestly remember, your career is building over time, no matter what your age or your income earning, every stage of your career brings a new experience, places to learn, and opportunities to hone new skills. Believing in yourself and staying curious will keep you moving forward. Remember, not everyone is supposed to have all the answers. You are exactly where you need to be and every failure, every mistake is an opportunity to do better. The realities here is that we're all going to be running into failures in our careers at some point. What's going to separate us from those that repeat the same mistakes are our willingness to see something imperfect as a perfect learning scenario, beating ourselves up for not performing perfectly as the direct opposite of accepting where we are with our skills and having a mind to move forward with our careers and sometimes honestly our lives. Accepting that not everything will be perfect is extremely important and not only sending a reasonable expectation, but keeping a balanced outlook on your career overall. Giving yourself time to develop, to make mistakes and learn is more important than waiting on something to be perfect. When you're hyper-focused on perfecting something, it can be really hard to assess your own blind spots. You also miss the opportunity to enjoy your learning process. It replaces curiosity with a rushed and stressed need to reach the finish line immediately. It's okay to move forward. It's okay to experiment and it's okay to try new things out. It's also okay to give yourself time to think things over, to decide if you like something or not, and if learning a new skill or experiencing a new way of working does not make you happy, you should allow yourself the time to change your course. Rushing and rushing and rushing toward the finish line in order to try to be perfect could put you back in an unhappy circumstance and ultimately push you to repeat that cycle over and over and over again in your career. That's not what we want to happen. I'd love to pause here and share a personal thought with you all that I think will really help you see the broader picture of embracing imperfectionism overall. When I started looking for alternatives in my own career to help me get over the challenge of change and that failure, the fear of failure myself. I started doing a lot of research in philosophy. I knew that there must be something out there that it was a better alternative to the way that I was doing things at that current time. During this time, I ran into a Japanese philosophy called Wabi Sabi. Wabi Sabi radically changed how I felt about perfectionism and failure as a whole. It also was a philosophy that opened my eyes to how other cultures handle and perfectionism. So what is Wabi Sabi? The motivating core idea is to respect the process, embrace the failures and the mistakes, and the quote, unquote ugliness of your story that it took to get to where you are right now. The process is part of the end result. When you say, for example, look at a gorgeous handmade wooden table, you're appreciating the art, the strength, and the dedication it took to create something unique and lovely. When you take a closer look at the table, you can see the hand tools that were used, the knots in the wood, the grain, the color, the splits, butterfly with other materials and sometimes you can even see the scars of the tree. Those items tell the story of the piece itself. Without the journey to create the piece, without the imperfection, the story wouldn't be complete. This is the first time I was exposed to the idea that making something perfect almost takes away the work it took to accomplish that end result. Wabi Sabi is about paying homage to the natural creation and the process it took to build the story, build the end result. Paying homage shear journey was a radical revelation for me. It meant embracing and perfection as part of my success and that blew my mind. It also wasn't really an easy or a natural thing for me to embrace just like a lot of you may be struggling. I like everyone else was never taught to embrace the failures. I was taught to only celebrate the end result, the successes, the wins to the majority of us, imperfections are not part of the story. We generally look toward to find the harmony or the beauty in something. We're almost exclusively celebrating career wins like corporate buyouts, raises success stories and certain culture. It seems like to us, the higher the title, the better. Now, I don't think Wabi Sabi is perfect. It doesn't solve the world's problems, but it was a radical mindset change for me. It really blew my mind that there were other cultures in the world embracing the full story, not just parts or segments or the end result of story. I'd love to leave that thought with you now as you continue to think about your career trajectory and what embracing your full story may even look like to you. In the comment section below this video, I kicked off the conversation about embracing the full story rather than justice successes. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this type of philosophy. In the meantime, I cannot wait to see you in the next video. I'm so proud of the progress you guys at all made, and I'm excited to see where it takes you all next. 8. Additional Tips and Important Re caps: I wanted to welcome you into our last video before we finish. Honestly, we've covered so many new ideas and new ways of thinking and techniques in mindset changes. I'm super proud of you-all. In your PDF, navigate to exercise number 7. In this section, I'd love for you to write final thoughts on how you personally will start to embrace the big F, aka failure, in your career from now on. We've come such a long way in mindset change and this would be the perfect place to just clear your mind and focus on how to use failure to move you forward before we finish this class together, I want to take some time, again, to recap some of our most important segments and give closing thoughts surrounding them to help you transition towards successfully practicing on your own. Let's first close down final thoughts in the innovative executive mindset. We've done a good job talking about how to handle fear, failure, opportunity, and growth as it applies to a flexible career outlook. For those of you in this class that are here, ready to level up your careers or embark on a new journey, or truly step into a mindset change for the positive, it's important to remember what an innovative executive mindset is really all about. It's all about moving forward, an innovative executive that's well-versed in failing forward, they're not dwelling on failures, and they're not taking failures personally. They're focused on achieving their goals, and they see everything as an opportunity toward getting to their end result. They're paying homage to their story and thinking through what they should be doing next. They're focused on achieving their goals, and they're willing to uncover hidden information, learn in a flexible environment, and pivot when they're confronted with a negative scenario. A mindset change of this size will take a little bit of time and a lot of your patience. Associating positive feelings with failure does not happen overnight. Honestly, no one is perfect. Allow yourself time to observe, review, and think through your steps, and remember, doing this now is such a huge opportunity for you. Very few of us have the opportunity to pause and think about what's ahead of us in our career or even really plan or think about things like happiness. Most of us move from job to job, either because we're not happy or we're surprised with sudden layoffs, but we're not really making conscious choices moving forward. This is the time right now that choices in our career can be driven by something positive instead of being driven by panic or fear. Right now we are practicing something that will help prevent those feelings in the future, give you more chances to make the right choices for you and your lifelong goals, and honestly just keep you moving forward, always thinking about the next step. Failure is just another normal part of life. With the right mindset is easier to anticipate change to build acceptance and gracious learning into anything a career has to throw at you. To an executive, failure is always an option and it's something that they handle quite often. When something isn't as acceptable or successful as first imagined, it's your job to pivot and to help move yourself forward. Doing that enough times, it's just practice. It makes it more of an occurrence, nothing really to write home about. It also helps to build your character and thoughtfulness. Moving forward and walking through the exercises in your PDF, feel free to print fresh copies and use it as a way to help you focus through any future failures you may experience. Who knows? You might even start looking forward to experiencing new scenarios and what they may potentially teach you. Remember, failure is not fatal, it's not personal, only giving up his fatal. In the comments section below, post your biggest take away from this course. I went ahead and posted mine and I can't wait to have a conversation about what you are looking forward to next, what excites you the most. Let's come together and support each other to help reach our own particular goals. Thank you so much, I'm so proud to have taught you and I wish you all the very best, and I'll see you in my last outro video to wish you well and send you off into a positive new experience, failing forward. 9. Special Message from the Teacher: Hi again, guys, it's me Elizabeth. I'm really happy that you've taken this class, and it's been a huge honor for me to teach you this interesting and new philosophy. A lot of people avoid talking about failure because they're terrified of the stigma, and they're terrified to be viewed as incompetent. But you and I both know that, successful careers are all about failing forward, embracing opportunity, staying curious, and looking for places to change. I hope this class has made a huge impact on you, just like it's made such a huge impact on my own life and my own professional career. I wish you all the luck in the world, and keep me updated. Tell me where this idea and technique takes you next. I cannot wait to see what you do in the future, and best wishes and good luck from me to you.