How to Successfully Overcome Your Professional Failures


Consider that one hour out of 2080 work hours in one year is equal to .04 percent (.0004).  Yet, in this minuscule amount of time, you can derail your career and become fired or sidelined.  Worse, you may not even know this has happened until it’s too late.

Joanie, a senior manager of a Fortune 50 company, felt she was right to support her team and the budget for a new project. When Cole, her boss’s boss, asked questions about the numbers, Joanie went on the defensive. As a result, Cole’s ego got in the way. He was offended and embarrassed that he could not logically explain his apprehensions. In that one hour, she didn’t even know she derailed her career and was slated to be fired.

When Joanie shared the situation with her coach, the coach understood the predictable outcome…Joanie was going to be fired.  She convinced Joanie to apologize to Cole. However, Cole would not talk with her. Then, the coach advised Joanie to get transferred to a different department asap. Joanie didn’t agree there was a problem since her boss Kevin hadn’t said anything to her yet.  But, instead of waiting around, she got into action and got a new job in a different department with a pay increase. The first comment Kevin made to her a month later was, “I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but, congrats. Otherwise, I was not looking forward to firing you.”

The recent comeback of Tiger Woods is an international example that you can overcome setbacks, mistakes, and failures. He clearly had done the work required, even when faced with additional setbacks, to win the 2019 Masters Tournament.

Most professionals have experienced difficult situations. The challenge is, are we aware and willing to turn the situation around? Are we practicing and developing the right skills? Do we have the right external coach and internal industry mentor to help us avoid and overcome career traps? If not, it will take longer to transform failure into success.

First, and foremost, hire a coach to avoid the trial and error of “getting it right.” Most successful leaders, bosses, and executives learn this lesson early in their careers. However, it’s never too late.

Next, Do the Work by Practicing These Skills Daily

  1. Read something that motivates you.
  2. Meditate and visualize positive outcomes.
  3. When driving or riding, listen to a podcast that educates you.
  4. Build relationships daily through positive interactions. It starts with a smile, “hello,” “please,” and “thank you.”
  5. Honor your word by fulfilling your promises and managing others’ expectations of you.
  6. Promote yourself in a business savvy manner…it builds immediate credibility.
  7. Help others succeed by supporting them in word and action. Ask, “How can I help you?”
  8. Respect others’ opinions and ask the right questions in a way to elicit the best from others.
  9. Listen to others’ ideas. Incorporate them into the project or plan where appropriate.
  10. Be fearless in resolving conflicts, criticisms, and complaints for win-win-win outcomes.
  11. Accept those things you cannot change (e.g., people’s personalities, weather, etc.).
  12. Be resourceful and resilient when faced with challenges.
  13. Be kind to yourself in how you think, speak, and write.
  14. Have compassion for others.
  15. Get into focused action…it overcomes procrastination and overthinking.
  16. Apologize immediately if someone appears offended by what you’ve said or done. This is regardless of whether or not you are at fault.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2019

Jeannette Seibly has been a champion for people achieving results for the past 26 years. As an award-winning coach, she has helped 100s of bosses create more fun, 6-figure incomes, and success when working through confusing situations. Avoid career derailment by contacting Jeannette for straight talk with dynamic results.

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