On Saturday the 14th of May I attended the Women in Science and Technology conference held at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla. There were four workshop sessions, and I wish to share a few thoughts from those sessions over my next few blogs. The first session I attended was held by Janet Vohariwatt and was entitled, Fail Forward: Embracing Risk. Janet has had a very successful career. She was born in Thailand and moved to America to continue her studies in computers. She worked through the ranks at Xerox, was a vice president at an IT firm and now runs her own company. She gave an incredibly positive and inspiring presentation.
The main theme of the workshop was that we should embrace change, accept failure, and move forward. The fear of failure can be the greatest barrier of achievement. While adversity is inevitable, successful people use failure as a stepping-stone to greater achievements. Janet introduced us to the three stages of failing forward.
1) The Dream.
There are no limits to what we can achieve; our imagination is our limiting factor. She encouraged us to consider taking a risk to learn something new, even if that means you need to work from the bottom again. You can always work your way back up to where you currently are, or hopefully surpass it. It becomes easier to break through barriers if we have upward mobility and multiple skill sets and knowledge. She introduced us to the relativity law of failure: the faster we fail, the sooner we learn, the better we become.
2) The Pursuit
Be the sort of person who makes things happen, not an observer or the person who doesn’t know what is happening. Prepare for the challenges ahead, get support and seek advice. Remember that circumstances do not make you who you are, you can overcome adversity. Problems are a matter of perspective. Is it a stumbling block or a stepping-stone to success?
Try to kill negative thinking with these statements:
– It is a temporary inconvenience
– At least, I do not have to…
– It is due to external causes
– Let’s take one day at a time.
– It could be worse.
– Well, it is worse, but then we only have the way up from here.
3) The Reflection.
You will always have the strength to endure when it is for an important reason, or you are not alone. However, we need to stand for what is right, even if that means you stand-alone.
We all need to remember her final words. Failure really means experience and wisdom.
To learn more about Women in Science and Technology, you can visit their site: http://sdawis.org/