Five Lessons of Failure

“Failure is instructive. The person who really thinks learns quite as much from his failures as from his successes.” – John Dewey, Philosopher

The most important lessons in life often come from failures or mistakes made. And the vast majority of people that we look up to or aspire to be, often have a checkered history of failing, but eventually go on to build something truly successful or inspirational.  In an industry where we have watched Salesforce Consulting companies come and go, and individuals that were seemingly washed up or forgotten, reinvent themselves – what are the lessons we can take away from failure?

1. It teaches you to rethink your objective and plans

We’ve all heard of the famous quote “Failing to plan is planning to fail”. But little do we realise this is so true, until we see our dreams disappearing before our eyes.  Even a half baked plan has better chance of succeeding, than no plan at all.  For example, not even the fittest athlete will enter a marathon without having a training plan in place. They take time to carefully construct a plan that will gradually build up their running over weeks and months, so that they can complete 26.2 miles on the day.  And the good thing about plans is that they can be long or short term. They can include staged increments and more importantly can be adjusted if things go off kilter.  But the most important thing they do…is bring you firmly back on track if you start losing your way. Some of the greatest plans I have been instrumental in, have not been my own. When I started Resource On Demand almost ten years ago, I helped a number of individuals who wanted to get into Salesforce Consulting.  I am now pleased to say that they have have gone on to become some of the most renowned leaders in their field.

2. It helps you identify the real priorities in life

Often failure comes not as a result of your inability to do a great job, but because your priorities were not in line with your overall goal.  Knowing what your goal is and identifying the actions you Salesforce Consultingneed to take in order to achieve it, will mean that you will have a better understanding of your key priorities.   And any actions that don’t support your key priorities, should and must come last. But great planning is fantastic for all areas of your life, whether it is your career, spending time with your family, or where you want to be living in the next five years. If you know what your priorities are, you are more likely to reach them.

3. It helps you to cope with emotions

As with any objective in life, it is very easy to let your emotions take over.  And often when you end up letting your heart rule your head, that’s when mistakes start happening.  I have lost count of how many times, I have had candidates come back to me saying they have regretted not taking sound career advice given to them, because they let their ‘gut feelings’ get in the way.  And most people who have ever failed at something will tell you, that once the hurt or the embarrassment subsides, and you’ve pick yourself up and dust yourself off, you learn to leave your emotions firmly at the door. Instead stick to a well laid plans, where logic rules decision making rather than feelings.

4. You learn to persevere

What do Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates have in common?  They never accept ‘No!’ for an answer. In fact anyone whoever comes back from a failure will tell you, that ‘No’ does not exist in their vocabulary.  As Salesforce Recruiters, we learn to persevere very early on in our careers, because being told ‘No’ is a daily / hourly occurrence.  But when you know, deep down you’re right…you have to keep going. And if any of these gentlemen had listened when they were told ‘No’, we wouldn’t have Virgin Airlines; the iPhone; the iPad or indeed, Microsoft!

5. You often learn that you can’t do it alone

Often failures can highlight your own weaknesses. “But that makes me a failure” I hear you cry.  The point is you don’t have to be good at everything yourself, but knowing what you are, or are not good at, will help you identify the skills gaps.  You can then take action accordingly to bring in the expert to fills those gaps, leaving you to get on with the stuff you are truly good at.  Even if that is just thinking up great ideas – and letting everyone else get on with it!

Failures are life’s lessons.  They teach us to do things better and to identify what is truly important to us. So next time, you find yourself worrying that listing your failures on your CV, might harm your career. Take a moment instead to reflect on Steve Jobs…or better still just ‘Google’ Apple’s Lisa!  And, instead figure out what take away lessons you have learnt from your failures.

Resource On Demand (ROD) is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Agency. They were founded in 2007 and are highly respected across the entire Salesforce ecosystem. Their specialist areas of recruitment include; Salesforce (SFDC); digital marketing and marketing automation technologies, which include Eloqua, Marketo, ExactTarget and Pardot; Human Capital Management (HCM) technologies such as Workday and SAP HCM and SuccessFactors. For more information contact ROD on or on 020 8123 7769.