Failure is not the opposite of success. It is part of success.
When you hear the word failure or anticipate a possible failure, what comes to mind? Do you think of fear, shame, embarrassment, anxiety, the value of your own self-worth? If so, you are not alone. Many of our network participants have a negative mindset attached to failure, when realistically failure is part of success.
Every year from September to June, apprentices return to school to complete a level of their block training requirements. Every year these students are both excited and nervous to attend training. We hear common thoughts and themes when returning to school. What if I fail? Well the reality is a certain percentage of individuals will fail. So what happens when you do fail? The answer is not as scary as it sounds….. you simply wait 30 days and write again.
Many individuals attach their own self-worth to the outcome of their exam marks, and we don’t want to see individuals forget about their overall life goals over a test. Does failing feel good?…. No, but does failing mean that you suddenly lost all of your acquired skills and that your career is over?….NO!
Think back to the time you learned to swim or ride a bike. You weren’t a pro overnight. I bet if you think back you don’t attach the fear of failure or embarrassment with that memory at all now. The reality is that everyone has failed at something in their life. As a society we don’t tend to glorify the negative parts of our pathways, we tend to focus on the good, but as any successful person will tell you, they have once failed at something too.
Failing one test doesn’t mean that you stop what you’re doing. It doesn’t mean you can’t go on. It points out your areas of weakness and gives you a direct path of how to achieve success. For example, if you write a block exam and fail 3 out of 10 sections, you will focus your attention to those 3 areas and try again. Failure isn’t as scary as it sounds. It is simply a redirection of priorities.
Another important factor to consider is that your learning style may not adapt easily to the testing you are undertaking. Skilled trades people tend to be kinesthetic learners; however, they are tested by completing multiple choice exams, not hands on practical projects. This can be challenging for some individuals. The good news is there are ways to overcome this by understand and developing studying habits. There are also tutoring options available for students. Some individuals think that accepting tutoring is a sign of weakness, but it is a way to reinforce learning material and develop additional learning capabilities.
So, the next time you head off to school or challenge a Red Seal exam, remember that failure is not the end, it is simply a redirection. If getting a Red Seal was easy, everyone would have one.