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Mentoring Lesson #5: Failure

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Based on the book, “Learning to Lead Through Mentoring”, this is the fifth in the series of mentoring lessons outlining important topics to consider when approaching a mentoring relationship.  The full transcript of the book can be found on Amazon.  The lessons are intended to help the reader approach mentoring relationships with better perspective and can also be useful to the mentor in guiding the relationship and discussion for their mentee or protégé.

Are you Failing enough?

What comes to mind when you think of the word failure?  Failure simply means something did not work out the way you had hoped.  Failure is not a topic most people like to talk about or rehash and reflecting on your perceived failures can often bring up uncomfortable feelings.  Yet, failures can offer important lessons and opportunities to improve and can offer powerful feedback to help determine the best steps toward success, if you are willing to learn the lessons that failure can teach.

Often, a fear of failure can hold us back from achieving our goals.  Fear of the unknown can have a way of paralyzing us from taking the necessary actions.  Recognizing that “failures” can offer valuable lessons can cause you to shift your thinking and start approaching failures only as learning opportunities and cause you instead to wonder if you are failing enough.

Prior to approaching a mentoring relationship, it is critical to spend some time on this unpopular topic, in order to determine the best mentor for you.

Here are some questions to consider to get you started:

  • What do you consider your most significant failures?
  • What did you learn from those failures?
  • What will you do differently because of those lessons?
  • Are there goals you have given up on?  If so, list some strategies you used in the past to try to succeed.
  • List some alternative strategies you could use if you were to tackle those goals again.

By better understanding your past failures and identifying possible strategies for future success, you will be taking an important step in determining the type of mentor you would work well with to overcome your fear of failure in order to accomplish your goals.

At Diverse Talent Strategies, we offer mentoring programs and resources for both individuals and companies.  To learn, more, contact us today.


Alison Martin

Written by

Alison Martin-Books is the Managing Director of Diverse Talent Strategies, a family of brands offering turn-key solutions for mentoring, women’s leadership initiatives, and recruitment. With roughly 15 years in nonprofit work, Martin-Books has a passion for doing work that makes a difference in the lives of others. After serving as Executive Director at two different national nonprofit organizations, her commitment to her passion for developing female talent led her launch Mentoring Women’s Network. In her role, Martin-Books acts as a liaison to a national committee responsible for the leadership development content for the organization and consults with corporations on the development and strategy aligned with initiatives for emerging female leaders. She is also the author of the book, “Landing on My Feet: Learning to Lead Through Mentoring” and speaks regularly on behalf of the organization

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