How I’ve Learned to Love Failing

Written by lewsauder

August 1, 2011

Love Failing

Learning to Love Failing

After a five-year stint away from consulting, I realized that I missed it.  A lot.  I enjoyed the two jobs I held during my little sabbatical and met some incredible people.  But I didn’t find it as challenging and fulfilling as consulting.

So I’m now nearly two months into my consulting re-entry.  I went in with more than a little cockiness.  I had several years of consulting experience on my resume and thought I knew what I was doing.  To a large extent, I did.  But every firm has their own way of doing things.  I was fortunate enough to join a great firm that has a unique way of doing things and sets their standards very high.

A minor failure

Because of circumstances out of their control, I ended up at a client before they could fully train me on their approach.  Considering my experience, they figured the risk was low.  But I tripped up on a few things.  Nothing serious, but I lost some credibility with the client.  We had to step back and do some training.  My firm had to correct me on the approach I was using.  I was frustrated, disappointed, embarrassed and a little pissed off.  I felt I had let myself down as well as my client and my firm.  It was a hit to my confidence, but the ego reduction, as they say on Wall Street, was just a correction.

I love failing

As much as I was frustrated going through this process, my firm was patient with me and is still working with me to make sure I come up to speed on their methodology.  I had an incredibly frustrating week at work going through all of this.  But as I drove home Friday, I felt good knowing that while the frustration sucked as I was going through it, it was worth the pain.  I learned a lot.  And I’ll be a better consultant because of it.

See my related post: My Big Proofreading Screw up

I’m almost looking forward to Monday for the next round of screw up-frustration-learning cycles.

Did anybody else learn anything the hard way last week?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.

Lew’s Books at Amazon:

Project Management 101
Consulting 101
The Reluctant Mentor

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