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Getting Beyond Career Failure

By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 26, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

One of the top fears of most hard-driving career professionals is failure. For those who have experienced it, failure can be extremely traumatic. High goal-seekers grapple with thoughts about the prospect of failure on a routine basis because achieving their objectives becomes such a large part of their lives. Professionals who have been wildly successful know that it is nearly impossible to really get ahead without taking enormous risks. And it only makes sense that the farther a person reaches, the greater the chance that something will go wrong.

Very few who have set out to accomplish extraordinary things in this field—or in any other—have set out on a well-paved path knowing what to expect around every turn. There are no roads with signs pointing upward nor any written rules to ensure success. In fact, those who have had the courage to climb the ladder have quickly found that it is missing a couple of rungs near the top. Professional actions of any real consequence take courage to execute, which means that if you want to achieve your greatest aspirations, you have to teach yourself how to face your fears and prepare for the possibility of loss.

Rebuilding and reconnecting

As career survivors who have fought their way back will attest, you emerge feeling both a sense of honor and responsibility to make it again. Wanting to share your knowledge with other fast-trackers is what motivates you and makes you want to work harder, claims Dianne Brier, a spa consultant who found her groove again after being let go with no notice and no financial safety net.

“I had just returned home from a budget meeting. I turned on my answering machine, and the message that I was terminated was the last one I listened to on that long and exhausting day,” says Brier, a single mother of 5-year-old twin boys. “When it finally sunk in, I felt betrayed and at my wits end, with my panic rising and my confidence at an all-time low. It took me months to regain my self-assurance.”

Brier just kept going. “I reconnected with old clients and asked for their help with referrals. It was a humbling experience at first, but the reception I got from people in the industry made me feel as if I was a part of something bigger than myself.”

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