Succeeding through failure


As many of you already know, I have recently taken my CIPD Level 7 examinations in January and have recently received my results; I passed one but sadly the one I worked really hard on, I failed.

That F on that piece of paper was devastating, I’ve been in HR for 13 years, worked really hard, know my stuff and usually have a thick skin but that F really hurt!

I am writing this about a month after receiving that F, and I have had a chance to step back and reflect on it and that F really isn’t that bad, in fact, it has taught me a lot of things which can be taken as a positive through my career journey; after all, if life isn’t lived like you’re on a rollercoaster, it’s not living, it’s existing.

To be told you have failed something that you are passionate about can be taken one of two ways, you either let it eat you up and knock your self confidence, or you can learn from it, dust yourself off and try again; I’m choosing option two.

What I have learnt so far is that failure is not a step backwards, it can actually be a sideways stepping stone to success. If we are succeeding all of the time, we are not learning anything from these experiences, it is of course nice to be successful, but it is the journey itself that creates that success, therefore it is important that we recognise that balance.

I often blog about getting out of our comfort zones to learn, develop and grow as HR professionals but I’ll be honest, its difficult when you know you need to take your own advice which leaves us being highly critical of ourselves sometimes, which can damage our self confidence and doubting our abilities. I know it sounds like a cliché, but if we remain in our comfort zone then we won’t overcome our fear of failure.

We’ve all been for interviews when we are asked, how did you resolve this problem or talk about a particular time when you faced a challenge that you couldn’t overcome. Employers are increasingly seeking out how we effectively handle our failures, it’s not always about how successful you are, it is about reflecting that balance because those who are open to the concept of failure have gained invaluable knowledge and skills, as well as becoming more resilient and are also more likely to persevere when the going gets tough.

From a studies perspective, I am grateful for that F because I know that when I do pass that exam, it will be worth it, not only for my qualification and my career, but more importantly for my self development.

I wouldn’t swap that F for anything now, whilst I am not a natural academic, I am proud of my journey with my CIPD studies and it is important to remember that things that are worth working for are not easy to gain, so I’m going to carry on and I will become a Chartered CIPD member… eventually!

I often get asked who I study with and because I work full time, I chose to do all of my CIPD qualifications via distance learning through ICS Learn. I study at my own pace and they also have flexible payment options which makes it much more affordable. If you are thinking about studying your CIPD qualification, then I would highly recommend them, to start your CIPD journey click here.

To those of you who are studying and finding motivation a struggle or like me you’re not where you initially anticipated, my advice would be to embrace where you are, it is all a part of the journey and these challenges can make us or break us. Breaking is not an option, repeat after me; you’ve got this!


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