Dealing with Failure: first crush, getting into an Ivy, dream job

Hey, you! this probably isn't the first thing you want to read on a Monday morning. But life is unpredictable and you have to be prepared for whatever comes your way today and everyday.

oh btw, welcome back to ATTICS. I'm glad you clicked that link on FB or IG. If you swiped up from my snap story, I see you too. Thank you 😽

Since this topic was requested on my Instagram (@chinjunwankwo) I've been thinking about the angle. Failure isn't something that I dwell on but of course it's something that I've had some experience with. It's a part of life and we all have to deal with it at one point or another.

Here are some of the ways in which I've failed:

1. When I was in a boarding school in Virginia, I liked this guy called Andrew👀. He was on the soccer team and one day after a big game, I gave him a note saying, "I thought he was really cool, we should be friends (crying at this one because we were already friends, but you know what I mean ... right?), and he should let me know what he thought or something like that 😭. He was either slow or not into it. Long story short the next time he saw me he waved at me and we remained friends #FAIL. I felt like I failed because I didn't get what I wanted. I'm sharing this little, now insignificant memory because it's a good way to show that FAILURE IS SUBJECTIVE. It was a major fail for me back then as a 13 yr old girl but it's easily negligible to the next person.

2. I wanted to attend UPENN so bad when I was in high school. I even applied early decision, for those who don't know what this is (this type of application is a commitment to attend. If they accept you, you have to go). I wrote my heart out in my essays and told them they were all I ever wanted and more 😭😭 I still remember exactly where I was when the decisions came out and I found out, I wasn't accepted. I was out shopping with a friend (maybe that helped soften the blow) but I remember that my mom was more upset about it than I was. As much as it sucked, I didn't lose any sleep over it because I had done my best with what I had and there was nothing more to do at that point. At the end of the day I went to New York University (NYU) and had the most amazing time.

3. The IG post that influenced this whole post (below). This was me in the lobby of one of the top consulting firms in the world earlier this year. I'd had this company on my radar for years and alas I secured an interview. It was a learning experience and I couldn't have predicted the outcome. You already know what it was though, given the last two stories 🙃

If you don't take anything else away from this post, just know that failure is a part of life. Work against it by being prepared but anticipate it & embrace it (when it happens), that way you'll be better positioned to grow from it.


1. Always put in your best and focus on what you can control. There's no point feeling guilty when you fail if you've literally done your best.

Truth is even when I feel like I may not have done my best, I am super forgiving of myself😌. I learn from my mistakes, move on and aim to do better next time. This is important because other people who have invested in you will be upset about your failure and you have to shield your mind from that. It's not selfish, but you have to protect your well being and stay strong. Don't give too much power to people's opinions of your performance (especially when its not helpful). It's your life, not theirs.

2. Don't be too quick to give up. If you fail at something and you can't stop thinking of it, try again and again until you get it right. I was disappointed when I found out I didn't make it the the next round at the consulting company but somehow I was over it in a few days. If you're thinking I just didn't want it enough, you couldn't be more wrong. At the time when I got the feedback, there was no point dwelling on the outcome. I was thinking of the next steps. Instead of focusing on the fact that I had failed, I started asking questions about how I could try again and the interviewer actually gave me some great tips/permission to reach out when I was ready. A few weeks later, I got an offer from a multi-national where I currently work and have made some great connections.

3. Failure creates an opportunity for re-evaluation and for you to decide if you're following the right path.

The key here is that your end goal can stay the same but your approach might have to change. We live in a dynamic world and there are so many ways to achieve the same goal, so don't get bogged down and discouraged if one way isn't working out. Get creative!

4. There's nothing to be ashamed of when you fail; unless you fail to learn/grow from it and you make the same mistake again (i.e. if it was in your control the first time)

All the great people have failed in one way or another, so you're in good company; think Oprah, Einstein, Jack Ma, even your parents.

5. Last but not least, it's important to deal with failure when it happens, otherwise it could lead to fear. For the longest time, A Cinderella Story with Hilary Duff was my favorite movie.I really liked this line "don't let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game".

The fear of failure can be really crippling if you personalize failure and let it define you. So, be careful not to let it get to that stage. Instead of holding on to failure and giving it power over you, pray that what's yours will never miss you and then work to make it happen.

Thanks for reading and I hope you've picked up one or two useful things. Leave a comment below to share some of the ways in which you've 'failed' and how you picked yourself back up.



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