Your CV of failures

Success in business is often based on failure. So say the successful. Would you expect to get the post you were applying for if you sent in a CV that listed all your failures, the posts you applied for but didn't get, the times you were overlooked for promotion, the exams you failed,the courses you didn't get on, the unflattering annual appraisal from the boss you didn't get on with, what about the grievances and complaints that have been made against you, would you refer to them pointing out that most of them were not upheld. Of course you wouldn't. Unless,  you were now very successful. Richard Branson is happy to say he was a dunce at school and left as soon as he could but would he be boasting of his academic failures if he was a cleaner on Virgin Trains rather than the mega millionaire boss of the Virgin empire? 

A Princeton professor first excited social media then drew criticism for his blog, " My CV of failures" . He claim to want to encourage others not to be discouraged by set backs and rejections but to persevere in the knowledge that the career path of even those seen as having made it is one of invisible failures. 

The truth is only when you are successful do you tell people of your failures that way you show that success was not by luck or gifted to you but was the result of hard work, persistence and ability coming through in the end. The message to others is don't give up, if you try hard enough for long enough and are good enough in the end you will get there despite the prejudices and unfairness of it all. Is this the positive message it appears or will it only confirm that you haven't made it because you didn't try hard enough?
 
This sounds like ," I did it so anyone can " . This is neither true or helpful. Yes you need persistence and ability but luck also plays it part and very few make it pass the obstacles with out help from some one already there. What you need is a mentor and a degree of insight into how your behaviour affects others. 
 
You need to know yourself enough to recognise if your ambition is out striping your ability, or whether you're ambitious but not that ambitious.  
 
Blair McPherson former director, author and blogger www.blairmcpherson.co.uk

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1 Comments

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Angela Taylor 4 Years Ago
This is a very interesting and enlightened perspective. My take away from this is: you are the sum total of all your experiences, good or bad, positive or negative. In my experience, if a "bad" experience has meant that you behave in a certain way, react in a certain way, or have developed a certain set of values, then explaining this to colleagues can only be good. It not only helps them to communicate with you, but it also shows a level of trust and a level of maturity.