How to turn a professional “failure” in to a win

Win some, lose some. A motto that I live by. Unless you are losing, repeatedly, for weeks. And that is where I found myself just a few weeks ago.
Way back in February, a client requested an e-commerce website in the “user-friendly, out-of-the-box solution Adobe Business Catalyst”. Word of advice, if anyone every mentions Adobe Business Catalyst to you, run. fast. I unfortunately ran the wrong direction and ran directly into the middle of a shit storm.

It was a perfect storm. Mix a brand new, recently promoted account manager (me), who has never managed a solo project, let alone a website with a website platform that feels like it is working against its users. Toss in 400+ products, and an over-stretched designer/developer and you have yourself a disaster waiting to happen. Well, that disaster happened over and over again for months. I will save you the nitty gritty details, and most of my friends could repeat this saga to you, but I felt like a failure in every sense of the word. There were many, many late nights and more tears than I am proud of. It felt as if the website was never going to go live and my team might kill me before then.
Well, another motto I live by is “every cloud as a silver lining”. And in the darkest situations, I try to find the light. Here is my light after the storm.
First, I learned A LOT. Mainly in regards to managing client relationships. It felt like I had nothing but bad news to share with my client, but I found quickly that it is best to be honest and open and up-front. But, I also learned a lot about what not to do. All of which were all powerful, albeit painful, lessons.
Next, I learned the importance of learning from your mistakes. I reflected on what specifically could have helped to avoid/alleviate the situation and remember that for the next project. I had an open, positive conversation with the team about how to improve for the next project. Constructive feedback is what helps you to grow and learn and it’s important to learn how to accept that feedback gracefully.
Third, The power of gratitude and positivity. When you find yourself in the eye of the storm, don’t be afraid to ask for help. And be grateful, patient and positivity when you do. Accept responsibility for the mistakes and errors that have caused you to get to that point, use the opportunity to learn and grow from the people that are taking the time out of their day to help you right the ship. Being appreciative during this process will take you further than tears and anger.
Finally, I am so lucky to have a team that was so supportive as I stumbled my way through the project. They helped me correct the errors that had been made, find solutions to the seemingly endless amount or roadblocks and bought me a drink on the hardest days.
And, never forget to smile. Because you aren’t a failure. This is just adulting. “Fails” are part of the game.
I know that this is the first of many “failures” in my future and learning from each one will continue to help me learn. After all, it’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up. Never quit looking for that silver lining.

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