My Top Five [Work] Failures in 2016

As mindyourmind's Program Manager, Melissa cares deeply about helping those struggling with their mental health. Her weekly blog, 'Radical Transparency', helps break down barriers by sharing the inner working of the program and fielding qustions from users. She is also a passionate gamer who envisions games as a way to create a better world.

One of the staff here at mindyourmind sent me this great website post a few months back, created by the Unreasonable Institute—“Our Failures (and what we’ve learned from them)”. It’s a great read, and a really honest take on how we need to fail to move forward. With a new year underway, here’s the top five ways I have personally failed in the last year [at work]. 

#5: I avoided my phone calls

Let's start out silly—I receive about 250 emails compared to two phone calls a week. But the phone calls sit there blinking at me and only get harder to answer. Some days I’ve moved without hesitation and returned all my calls immediately. But other days (like today) they sit and blink at me for longer than they should.

#4: I got defensive

This is an easy one to fall into for me. We’re used to the idea that people who talk about an issue are informed on it, but that’s not always the case. In the last year, I’ve been working hard to try to curb my tongue and really think about if what I’m saying has value. But I fell into my old habits too easy. I get defensive at times, and I still need to check myself daily to ensure that my reactions are actually in the best interests of those I serve, and not just there to make me feel better. 

#3 I didn't take enough time to think

I don’t know how many hours I’ve wasted rushing from meeting to meeting without taking time to sit and think about what was discussed. Things more quickly, and my reaction is to do the same. But there’s a huge benefit to sitting quietly and engrossing yourself in one thing until it’s complete. And that’s something I need to do more. 

#2: I took chances without asking permission

There are pros and cons to all of these. And while taking chances are good, I made some decisions without talking to everyone who was impacted by them. This led to stress, tension and more than one multi-hour meeting. Our team here is so collaborative, and that makes me very lucky… which brings me to number three

#1: I didn’t rely on my supports

The mindyourmind team is strong. But like many people, I have a hard time reaching out when I do need support. I’m lucky enough that I have someone in the office who always checks in when I’m having a bad day, someone who will take work off my desk without hesitation and someone who always lends a patient ear. I constantly need to remind myself that asking for support takes strength and isn’t a weakness.

Here's hoping I can keep making progress and grow, building on my failures, and my successes.

 

Note: Within 24 hours, a mistake was found within my blog (by the staff who suggested the topic no less!). Live and learn and make mistakes all over again, my friends!