Striving To Fail
Somehow, far too many of us have believed that failure shouldn't happen. In acknowledging this notion, too many folks have developed a fear of failure and run away from it all the time. So, with this issue, I thought it was about time we discussed failure in the newsletter.
Experiencing Failure 😓
For me to have any credibility in discussing failure, I must discuss incidents when I have failed in my journey. I have a couple of major occasions I definitely could share about:
A Should-Have-Been Given Win: GitHub Campus Experts 👨👩👧👦
The GitHub Campus Experts are a set of student leaders creating inclusive communities using technology and more whilst being supported by the GitHub Education team across the globe. When I had just made my way into tech communities in 2019, some Campus Experts were among the first community leaders I came across. These folks inspired me, and I think that’s why I saw this role as a privilege I wanted to earn.
I applied to be a part of the program for 3 out of the 4 years of my undergraduate degree, and I was not selected a single time. To be honest, the first 2 attempts did not hurt much, but that last attempt felt like the end of the world for a while. This was because the last rejection occurred at a major inflection point in my student career. At this time, I decided not to pursue a career in community development and return to active (software) development. In truth, I had started facing the repercussions of not focusing on programming for a while. Every technical internship application I made (and I made over 50) returned with either no response or a rejection. And while those hurt, I still understood that it was a repercussion of not practicing my technical skills for a while. Still, that pushed me towards desperation for a win. And here was a community leadership position, a role that should have been a given win. My desperation clouded my logic and judgement and made me thoroughly mess up my application. The given win became an absolute loss.
That loss caused me to spiral even further and hit a point of rock bottom. I’d be dishonest if I said I did not feel like giving up on pretty much any professional venture coming my way. Fortunately, I had two good friends back then (we were a little Trifecta of sorts) to pull me out of that spiral, give me a wake-up kick in the ass and remind me of all the growth I had made in my journey as well.
A Far-Fetched Attempt: CMX Community Industry Awards 2023 🏆
The CMX Community Industry Awards are some of the highest accolades given to members of the community industry. Each year, CMX selects individuals/organizations for their contributions in their domains on the basis of quite an extensive process, including a nomination process, voting round, and panel review.
While I have only recently completed a year as a DevRel, I was fortunate to be selected as a finalist in the Developer Relations category. Making it through the nomination and voting rounds to the top 3 individuals was something I hoped for while keeping my fingers crossed. The moment I became a finalist, I let that hope turn into a little bit of overconfidence. Combine that with an echo chamber of well-wishers, and I suddenly started expecting to win. So when the result did come out, it did cause me to sink a little. Not to say that the wrong winner was chosen; in my opinion, they had the perfect choice in Samantha Hepburn, a highly experienced and deserving candidate, someone all of us younger DevRel and community professionals should look up to.
Why Is Failure Important? 💭
I am rather grateful for having had the opportunity to face many failures throughout my journey. There were lots of learnings they brought along as well:
Failure has never failed to humble me, teach me to remain grounded, and make me remember that no matter what I may have achieved in the past, there is always more to learn.
I have never seen failure as a consequence of bad luck, but rather as a result of my effort. It is a constant reminder that ensuring consistent effort and discipline is the only way to make success predictable.
One trait that I have always respected is taking ownership of the consequences of one’s actions. It’s something I could have learnt only by facing failure, because only after making enough mistakes comes the acceptance that you can’t always blame them on others.
One thing I often forget in the bad times is appreciating the good things happening that I should look back to and look forward to. It’s also a wonderful reminder of the good people around me, supporting me, and uplifting me, especially when I’m too afraid to ask them for help.
One major teaching all my failures have brought me is that they may occur at any time and by factors that may not always be in my control. The fear of failure may exist forever, but that’s no reason to stop moving forward and trying to achieve success.
Every failure is no less than a punch in the face to me, and sometimes they will push you down and make you kneel. But as Rocky said, it ain't about how hard you hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!
Moving Forward 🛣️
The truth that I have been trying to propagate is that failure is inevitable. We all face failure at some point or the other in our journey. However, striving to fail is not about seeking failure; it means being relentless in the pursuit of success and growth while remaining unafraid of the possibility of failure. It’s about accepting that working hard to push through and accomplish your objectives is more important than the potential obstacles you face. As long as you’re willing to accept that, you will definitely achieve the goals you hope to fulfill one day.
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