In light of the recent exam results days, I thought this post would be highly appropriate for the time. Although sometimes it doesn’t just have to be results week when you experience a sense of failure after the envision you had in mind for the next few years doesn’t go to plan. It can happen at anytime and any stage of your career journey. It can occur when you first start higher education or at any moment throughout your working life. I always see people going through this on social media, when people’s goals didn’t go to plan and they think they’ve failed the rest of their life. But whenever it happens and whatever way it happens, you are not a failure just because your dream did not work out this time.
This was something I really had to learn to accept for quite a long time and always blamed what happened on why I developed an anxiety and panic disorder. But that’s another story for another time. The point is plan and simple, I hated the course I picked after I finished my GCSE’s, passed with the grades I needed and then went off to college that September. The course I chose I didn’t give too much thought into, purely because I had no idea what I wanted to do, but knew I had an interest in the subject areas. Once I was on the course, I was miserable and terrified mess every single day I was due in. I felt useless, worthless, like I wasn’t good enough and I was constantly comparing myself to everyone else. It literally got to point where I just couldn’t bring myself to go in anymore and in the end I had to drop out.
For the longest time after this, I thought of how much of a failure I was compared to all my friends and the people I went to school with. Whilst I was home ridden with anxiety and self pity, everyone else was flourishing on whatever course or subjects they had picked to study. I felt like everyone had the easy road out of high school and I was the one who had failed to cope in the real world. I didn’t understand why it didn’t work out for me, I had never done anything wrong or deserved to have what I thought was a goal ripped away from me. But reality was, that was far from how things happened and also why it happened.
I learnt through overcoming the situation of dropping out, finding a new course the next academic year, going through counselling for my anxiety and depression that sparked up because of this experience, that I was not to blame nor was I failure just because I had to drop out of a course I wasn’t enjoying. We all want to do things what makes us happy and what we enjoy, so why should I have felt so bad for leaving something that wasn’t bringing me that purpose in life? Why did I label myself as a failure just because of what happened?
I shouldn’t have and you shouldn’t either.
You’re not wrong for the course, nor are you not good enough. The course just wasn’t right for you. This was what really helped me to move on from what happened. Over months of blaming myself and thinking I wasn’t good enough, I learnt that the course just wasn’t right for me and it wasn’t good enough for the potential I had in other areas. Your skills and talents lie elsewhere, so don’t beat yourself up about a course that didn’t unlock your full potential.
It’s not the end of the world. Even though it might feel like it, it really isn’t the end. You have to be the one to pick yourself up and dust yourself off from the set back. Life moves on and so should you. However hard or long it might be or take to move on from what happened, you’ll get there and you will find something that is 100% perfect for you. It’s just going to take some searching!
Have a rethink of what your skills are and what you enjoy. Whatever stage you are at in your life, you’ll at least have a few skills that you’ve developed over the years. Even leaving secondary school, you’ll be able to take some skills with you. Think about those skills and what you can bring them to in your next education or job move. Also consider the things you enjoy. For example, if you’re a massive fan of entertaining, dealing with people, extremely organised and outgoing, then you might want to look into a career that holds some of those traits. This might be an events planner or something in the events industry like a caterer etc. Playing on your strengths and really thinking about what you enjoy will help you to visualise a career goal in mind that really reflects the person you are or hope to be.
Find that’s right for you and what’s best suited to you. Similar to the previous point, it might take you a while to find what’s right for you and what suits you and your skills best. But don’t give up. Set backs are completely normal and use them as your motivation to get back on track to where you want to be. It’s all about trial and error.
Remember that everything happens for a reason. When one door closes, another one usually opens. Two of the phrases I try to remember when going through hard times. Everything does happen for a reason usually, so don’t fret and question why it happened to you, why you failed, why you weren’t good enough, why it didn’t work out etc. Don’t do this to yourself. It happened for a reason. It happened so you could find something else more suitable for you and a chance for you to be successful in another area. When the door of your previous plan closes, the door to your new and exciting vision will open up.
Don’t treat it as a failure, think of it as a step in the right direction. Leading onto the last point, it is so important to not treat your set back as a failure. Remember it is as that door and as you walk through it, you’re stepping in the right direction of something much better.
Don’t compare everyone’s journey to your own. Everyone is different. I was terrible for this, but the past year or so I have been able not to compare my career journey and also myself to everyone else. It’s going to knock your confidence straight away if you do this, especially if you’ve had a knock from the set back. Just don’t even bother. Your journey isn’t going to be the same as everyone else’s. Just like someone else’s isn’t going to be the same as yours. Everyone is different. You might have found it hard and had the tough road, but you’ll reach your destination when you’re ready to.
Don’t beat yourself up about it. Don’t let it knock your confidence. It’s easier said than done, but it will help you deal with similiar situation’s in the future a lot better. You can still achieve amazing things and go exactly where you want to go despite the set back. You’re not a failure. Your mind might tell you are. But you’re really not. You’re a step closer to success!
It doesn’t change who you are or what you stand for. You’re still fab. Just because you’ve had a bump in the road, doesn’t mean it changes who you are or what you’re about. You’re still that great person with the same skills, the same personality and the same experiences. Continue being that person you are before you had your set back.
Don’t be afraid of judgement. Don’t fear people’s reactions or even the presumptions you might create of what people might think about your situation. Most people will be sympathetic and encourage you to continue on to where you want to be. They’ll offer support and guidance. If people bash you, make you feel bad about your experience and that you are a failure because you didn’t succeed, then don’t believe a word they say and get rid of them asap. You don’t need that negativity in your life at all.
It will feel harsh, awful and like the worst thing possible has just happened when you experience a knock to the dream you had envisioned your future going in. But reminding yourself of the things above when going through this difficult time and even when thinking back to what you’ve gone through once you get over it, will ensure that you deal with it the best way and understand that just because you went through that, it doesn’t make you a failure and you still have another chance to become the successful individual you want to be.
Sometimes it just takes us a little while longer to figure out what we really want and how we’re going to get there. That might also be a bumpy journey with set backs, but if you know you really want it and you know what to do to get there, then go after it with all that hard work and determination you’ve always had inside of you.
How do you deal with set backs? Have you ever experienced that failure feeling after a knock back during your plan for the future in terms of education or career?
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