Failure: a stepping stone to success

In life, the majority of us have a fear of failure. This is probably because we feel pressured to succeed and others have such high expectations of what we should achieve. The problem is that we tend to play it safe in order to avoid failing. It makes us feel bitter, disappointed and disheartened. Fear of failure holds us back from realising our full potential. Luckily, I’ve already realised that you might as well take the risk; because if you don’t try, there is no chance of success.

Personally, I believe that failing is nature’s way of saying that you have to stop doing something that obviously isn’t working. For example, if dating the same type of man always ends up being a catastrophic failure then it’s clear that you should be doing something different. That said, you can definitely learn from them. Failed relationships are a good example as, hopefully, you learn from your mistakes and ultimately succeed to find the right person.

As an apprentice I am learning something new every day. Recently I have learnt that failure can lead to success. During National Apprenticeship Week I entered a creativity competition in the bid to win two PRCA training days. After endless hours of editing, I produced a three minute video of what a PR apprentice does on a daily basis. Proud of my creative idea, I was sure that it was what they were looking for. However, after it was announced that my video failed to take first place I was left feeling bitter, disappointed and disheartened. On reflection, I realised that it wasn’t quite what they wanted as I had failed to read all the entry criteria.

Apart from pointing out that I need to read the question properly, it pushed me to go beyond my apprenticeship coursework and reach out of my comfort zone in order to succeed. At Salix I have a list of my top ten journalists. I researched each of them and discovered that the editor of PR Week has experienced both a journalistic and PR perspective. She also chose not to go to university so I jumped at the opportunity of interviewing her. After personally getting in touch with her, I was so pleased when she agreed to meet with me.

I’m not the only one who hasn’t let the fear of failure keep me from taking a risk. Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for TV” at the age of 22. JK Rowling battled depression until she was 30 and then faced 12 rejections before Harry Potter was acknowledged by a publisher. Even Steve Jobs had a setback. Before he invented the iPod he was fired from his own company!

Failure is a part of life. Everyone experiences it at some point. It’s just important to not let the fear of failure hold us back. Of course I was scared about not going to university. Deciding not to go seemed like a massive risk, but with that risk comes rewards. Maybe I will be appointed apprentice of the year… you never know. In life, failures are inevitable, what you take away from them is how they become stepping stones to success.