Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Benefits of a Failure Resume!

You may ask yourself, “I don’t want to think about the past negative stuff in my live, so why in the world would I want to write a failure resume”. Fair enough. That’s was the first thought that came to my mind when I watched the following Pinkcast 1.12 video by Daniel H. Pink.

In this video (less than 2 minutes) Pink interviews Tina Selling, author of the book, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20. In the bestselling book, Seeling presents the origin and purpose of her idea about a failure resume. In the video, Seeling says the purpose of a failure resume is to learn from your “personal, professional and academic mistakes” so you can learn from your setbacks and not repeat the same errors.

The process of developing a failure resume is as follows:
  1. Write a list (better to write it down instead of just ruminating your mistakes in your head) of your failures.
  2. Write down and acknowledge the mistakes made and what you learned from them. This second list essentially documents what you learned from that ‘opportunity’ in the hope that you gain insight (both short-term and long term) from these painful moments.
Seeling says that it’s likely you will not repeat the mistake if you learn the lesson from the failure. According to Seeling, failure is just data and this is our occasion to mine the data and learn something from it. Without the mining, it’s just regret she says.

I think Seeling’s concept is brilliant. It’s a way to formalize and learn from our setbacks instead of being stuck in the negative loop of ‘would of, could of’. Some of you may already informally acknowledge and learn from your mistakes and do it in your head.

Writing the mistakes down and then deliberately uncovering the lesson or lessons learned, I believe sharpens our thinking about solutions to setbacks and makes us more resilient and smarter for the next opportunity to succeed. It is not that easy to learn from our mistakes in the heat of the moment, but upon reflection these are ‘golden nuggets’ for us to reflect upon not out of regret but a space for our personal growth.

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