Webinar puts failure in perspective

Photo courtesy fsu.edu

In a world of social media where you see only the highlights of everyone else’s life, failing seems so, well, pre-technology. It’s almost as if once it became popular, we forgot that people actually get rejected and, most importantly, it’s pretty damn normal. 

“While failure is inevitable, constant failure without success is not so good. So just keep that in mind and I want to challenge you guys, whenever you do fail at something, to ask yourself was this an expectation that was clearly set for me or was this an expectation that I assumed was real but might not be,” Selina Nevin, a legal policy and research assistant at Pittman Law Group in Tallahassee, said.

Nevin was the featured speaker during a Monday webinar hosted by Florida State University. She can make failure look like a petty criminal. She was rejected so many times as an undergraduate student, she said, that she now uses it as a motivator to accomplish even more goals in her professional career.

According to Nevin, there are three key steps to overcome failure: accept, redirect and motivate. You must identify your failure for what it is and don’t downplay how you feel about it. Move your attention to another goal while also understanding that there is more than one to step to take. Finally, motivate yourself to get it done. 

“Instead of viewing failure as the end of the world, try to see it as like a free pass to do anything with,” she said. “We often get really tied to this life plan that we set out for ourselves that when something unexpected happens we typically run around like a chicken with our heads cut off wondering what we should do next because that was the plan, but the answer is you can do anything.”

Juan Roca-Paisley, an FSU undergraduate student who is studying journalism, education and history, served as the moderator. He asked the question:  How do we accept the moments of failure and turn them into positives?

Nevin’s response resonated with the room. 

“Usually when we face rejection or receive a bad grade, we oftentimes see that as someone telling us that we are not good enough, didn’t try hard enough, or didn’t study long enough but really those rejections aren’t a referendum of who you are, what your value is, and what you can contribute. All it means is that you just didn’t get the position,” she said.