Everyone has bad days. But not everyone learns from their mistakes, suggests Jeff Henderson, author of five books, including The Win-win Network: Starting The Whole New You Naturally .
The top three obstacles that you encounter in your professional life, he says, are “You,” or, as he calls it, “the internal obstacle”; “You and others,” or “the external obstacle,” such as being blocked by time constraints, performance demands, or lack of time or money.
“Everyone has skills that they don’t know how to use and skills that they don’t know how to implement,” says Henderson. “Never stop learning. Never stop evolving.”
Learning how to operate through frustration is a crucial aspect of any successful career, says Higgins Senior Manager for Life Skills Programs and Instruction at Portland State University. “If you don’t constantly experience something that doesn’t go according to plan, you won’t be able to navigate through it in a consistent, good way,” says Higgins.
Even those who think they’re constantly learning are off-track, says Henderson. “When you spend all your time at first implementing the new idea, it becomes so familiar that you don’t feel it’s unique. If you have a weakness, you stay there.”
A common pitfall is thinking you know all the right answers, says Henderson. “You’re very limited when it comes to knowing what’s going to help you in the long run,” he says. “You don’t even know how you’re thinking.”
After a bad experience, try a few tricks to help you figure out how you could have improved the situation, Henderson suggests. Do you need more time? Give yourself 20 minutes to do a tracking exercise to determine why you need more time. Do you need more product-market fit information? Look at that and decide what metrics you need to meet those goals. Are you looking for more time to prove your value? Ask for more time in a timely way.