When I was a young whippersnapper starting my first job in insurance, every little mistake I made felt like the end of the world. I distinctly recall sending a settlement cheque (remember those things?) to a lot owner, instead of the strata manager. When I realised my mistake, I felt sick with dread and fully expected to find all my belongings packed in a box when I arrived at work the next day. To my surprise, the client did not complain, and my boss gave me a pat on the head and told me to calm down and get back to work.
I am sure a few readers know this feeling, particularly people new to their role or the industry. We should congratulate ourselves on taking on new challenges and stretching our comfort zone, but it can be a daunting experience fraught with anxiety. I look back now and laugh at my younger self (and my hair – what was I thinking?) because if experience has taught me anything, it’s that there is always a silver lining to any failure or mistake. The adage rings true. Failure teaches you how to be positive and resilient and most importantly, how to manage your stress.
Once you have been through enough upheavals or challenges, you learn a few important lessons that help you stay positive and focused, which I want to share with you:
- If you learn from your mistake, you are already better than you were yesterday, so chin up.
- Something that seems catastrophic now can lead to a better outcome or opportunity. You don’t have a crystal ball so stop expecting the worst.
- Change is painful and hard work, but it can present opportunities to reinvent something and make it even better. Most of my biggest challenges have been a blessing in disguise and made me a better person and leader.
- If you ask for help, people will support you. Everyone loves to swoop in and be a hero.
- This too shall pass. In times of stress our whole physiology is affected, and it can colour your world view and expectations. Experience has taught me to keep pushing through, because tomorrow or next week will be better.
- When all else fails, have a hot cup of tea.
I hope sharing these thoughts might help you push through the eternal learning curve that is life. One day you too will look back and reflect on how each challenge built your resilience and character, and how much better your hair is now.