Should you celebrate a mistake or a loss? My answer is a big yes. Through my work as a sales expert, I often meet managers who find making mistakes very difficult to accept. However, they are not aware that they can learn a lot from their mistakes. A long career in business without mistakes will not make you smarter—but by embracing your challenges you will learn to handle disappointments and that will help you make better decisions in the future.
My mentor gave me a piece of advice that I carry with me even today. I used to dwell on the past and think about what I could have done differently. Today, I have become much better at extracting the lesson and moving on. When things do not go as planned, you should consider the following:
- Forgive yourself.
- Find the silver lining.
- Study what you can learn from the experience.
- Become an even better leader based on what you learn.
- Tell others that you become smarter from mistakes if you learn from them.
Making use of your support system will be very useful for your professional and personal development. Try to always have an incredible amount of joy. Be willing to exchange experiences, and surrounding yourself with bright people who can advise you in critical situations. I have a list of 4-5 people I call when I need moral support, regarding a not so positive situation that occurred or when I need a change in perspective. They have extensive experience, and their advice helps me to see my own insignificance in a different light. People like these individuals are your ‘personal crisis management team’. Life will be full of adversity. Don’t waste a moment sulking about it. Gain a new perspective, learn from the mistake and keep pushing yourself to be better.
My life consisted of being kicked out of school, losing most of my family members to cancer, being fired from jobs, and having two miscarriages and I can go on. Even sorrow has its silver lining. And sometimes life can just break your heart and steal your job. I have been there. I have walked those miles. I admire the strength of those who had to fight and conquer insurmountable battles. They are the true definition of what it means to find your silver lining.
For every time I was turned down, rejected or when life burned me, I begin to think to myself – This is good. This will open a different door, an unexpected opportunity and take me to the right path. Even when things seem like it’s the darkest hour, I appreciate those moments and trust the process.
In 2007, I was fired while pregnant. It was my most challenging moment. A mom to be and the breadwinner a there I stood with no job. In this moment, I decided never to be in a position ever again where anyone could fire me. That same year, I started my own consulting company. I had no idea what to do – I just knew I needed to make a living. It was urgent since I was out of money. All I had was my skills in sales. I knew sales training, strategic sales, strategic partnership, and supply-chain management. Those are my “hardcore” skills and talents, and it was easy for me to teach others. So I decided to start training others in what I thought would be beneficial to their businesses.
Before long, I created a name and reputation for myself. Today, I work in more than 33 countries, with some of the biggest companies in the world. My crisis motivated me to success. Now, what about you?
Remember, “Every flower must grow through dirt.” Don’t be discouraged by your setbacks. Let it fuel your soul and push you out of your fear. There is always a silver lining.
About the author
Soulaima Gourani is a sought-after speaker, author, board member and special adviser to private companies all over the world. In 2014, she was chosen as one of the “40 under 40” European young leaders. She was also elected as a TED speaker mentor in 2016.