Faith & Failure (and action)
The Most Glorious Ingredients To Success.

By Carolyn Campbell, MA, CPPC

It’s only weeks into the new year and, for many, those wistful declarations of change have become dust bunnies settling into the corners of our mind. My invitation: take time to reconsider what felt important to you a few weeks ago. Then try using this intentional and strategic approach to achieve your desired outcome.

Let’s begin with your ‘faith factor.’

Many studies address how having a consistent, active faith produces an inner power and strength to maintain resolve to take action and create change. It’s easy to assume that faith always pertains to religion, but in fact, it’s far more personal. Prosperous people often speak of the role ‘faith’ played in their success. The faith someone else had in them to be what they dreamed of being, or their own faith that they were guided by a greater purpose. Without faith, success will not happen.

Take a moment and name things you have an unwavering faith in. Notice how often that thing (or that person, or that event) proves to be true. You’ll probably notice that you are seldom let down. Now consider things you don’t have faith in. They often let you down, right?

Last fall, a new client came to me wanting to get back into the marketplace. Her challenge: she had been let go from a company in a very unsavory way. Despite dedicating many years to growing the company, when times got tough, the company terminated her, along with others, with little support and even less appreciation for all the work she had done. Her confidence was shaken. After three years she still felt bruised and beaten. It was clear from our first meeting that my role, at first, was to help her reclaim her faith in herself and the possibility of working in a respectful and rewarding environment.

First, we had her reach out to past supervisors to compile a collection of letters of reference. With each stellar letter, she reclaimed a bit of faith in herself and others.

Next, take action.

As the year came to a close, she committed to stepping up her job search. She made a very specific resolution: to have her resume packet completed and sent out to her first prospect by the middle of January.

Over the holiday, she worked diligently with an editor to finalize her master resume and craft an impactful cover letter. Everything was sent to the potential employer by the second week of January. She was really pleased with herself. She had met her very first New Year’s resolution!

Ah, and then, there’s failure.

I find failure to be so fascinatingly alluring. We often hear how we should embrace failure and that it is not that we fail but how quickly we get up. (That statement always reminds me of those clown punching bags that keep popping back up no matter how many times they’re punched.)

What I’ve noticed over the years is something quite different than simply determination to proceed. I’ve noticed that often failure actually breeds success.

Back to my client. When I opened the documents she had sent to her prospective employer, it appeared that she had sent the heavily corrected, marked-up copy from her editor instead of the ‘clean’ version. I promptly sent her an email to check and see if this was true. Within minutes I got an email from her that basically said, “S##T!!!!”

And finally, there’s re-action.

When we fail, we often want to hide and pretend it didn’t happen. Most often, though, it’s best to face the failure head on by reclaiming faith and choosing a new action. I call it a ‘re-action.’

Fortunately for my client, we were scheduled to have a session within the hour. Once we figured out what had happened, so it wouldn’t happen again, we prepped a new letter to this same prospective employer. We also took the opportunity to tighten up her resume and referral packet. It looked sweet.

As she was leaving, she said, “You’re always saying that it’s great to have multiple reasons to connect, and this gives me a reason to reach out again.”

Within the hour the prospective employer emailed my client, confirming that she had, indeed, received the very ‘rough’ resume. She thanked my client for the updated material and invited my client to discuss possible positions the following morning. Very cool! By claiming her failure, making it right, and having faith in the opportunity to strengthen the connection, my client got exactly what she wanted. Plus, the prospective employer saw how my client handled a potentially embarrassing problem swiftly and professionally.

Faith. Action. Failure. Re-action. And faith again, as the cycle begins anew with greater confidence and conviction each time.

Now it’s your turn.

1) Name what you’d like to achieve.
2) Score your ‘faith factor.’ (0-10 with 10 being the highest. The lower your faith, the less likely you will do what it takes to achieve the outcome. If it is low, don’t stress. You’ll just want to make sure you embolden or reclaim your faith.)
3) What can you do to bolster your ‘faith factor?’
4) What is the first action you’ll take?

Onwards, into creating your best year yet. There is still plenty of time to begin and succeed.