By Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T. Grimes
American entrepreneur and publisher Malcolm Forbes once said, “Failure is success if we learn from it.”
Collectively sixty years of professional experience has meant a few failures along the way. But our failures have given us incredible opportunities to learn and achieve many successes on our journeys. True success is rarely an event, although it may feel like it at the time.
Actually, our personal successes are the result of a great journey. Winning the tennis match or beating a marathon goal-time is a tremendous success, in the moment. The winning match or the winning time may have taken two to four hours to achieve; however, the result was a success for sure, following years of effort and training. Getting in shape is a longer process – and staying there an even longer one!
Our professional successes are also a journey and take years of effort and training, but there are decisions you can make today to define and kickstart your journey to those professional successes.
Build your Brand; don’t wait for others to do it
We all hear about the importance of branding, both on a business level and on a personal professional level. And they would be right. It is important, and YOU need to determine your brand. Ask yourself what you want others to think when they hear your name? This takes self-reflection, self-awareness, and intentionality. We’re not saying you shouldn’t ask people what they think of you, but you need to ask people you trust and who you know will be honest. And in the end, you choose your brand, not others. Once you define your brand, you must be self-aware to make sure your actions and decision are in line with that brand.
Determine your Core Values
Professional women seeking success should first make a concerted effort to cling tightly to their core values. If we stick to our personal brand and remember who we are, making a difficult decision is not as difficult. At some points in our careers, we have both been faced with the choice to do something that went against our core values, but we chose to remember who we were, so our decisions was already made. We’ve both made career changes as a result – because we weren’t willing to change our core values. Determine your core values and stick to them, even if it takes you down paths you didn’t expect to take.
Get it Done, and Then Some
Another way to say this is to “give 110% percent.” In order to establish credibility in the workplace, we have to go above and beyond other’s expectations. This might mean taking time outside your job to do research and be fully prepared for the project presentation with the client. This preparation will then allow you to offer solutions instead of merely answering questions. This is also a way to display your brand and core values. When you consistently exceed expectations, opportunities will become available to you. People in higher positions will start to remember your name.
There are many things that help you achieve successes in your career, but we found these to be the foundation of who we are as professionals. We all make mistakes and miss expectations, but the important thing is to learn from them and improve. “Fall down 7 times, get up 8” from Naoki Higashida, author of the bestselling “The Reason I Jump,” an extraordinary self-portrait of life as a young adult with autism, tells us that we are not defined by our failures. We are defined by what we after our failures. Remember who YOU are, and successes will come.