20-Something Guest Post: Confidence in the Face of Failure

Today I have a guest post from an inspiring 20-something who has learned the value of  failure early on…and is leaning in to get the most out of it. Sometimes “not a good fit”  just means you are meant for something better — better in line with your strength. Here is Lynne Guey’s story.


Confidence in The Face Of Failure 

By Lynne Guey

Confidence is the key to success, says every confident successful person ever.  We’ve all heard that one before! But what happens when you don’t win gloriously and instead fall flat on your face?


A few weeks ago, I thought my search for confidence had come to a screeching halt. I was dismissed from my account management job at a startup.  Six months before, I was dismissed from my recruiting job at another promising startup. Two times in a row, I was rejected, dismissed as “not a good fit” which in some ways is saying, “not good enough”. Where, and how, does one find any semblance of confidence from that?


Merriam Webster defines confidence as “consciousness of one’s powers”. I’d like to add an addendum. Confidence is also about understanding one’s weakness.


Working at a startup taught me that I can be a jack of all trades: 60% execution sprinkled with 30% social media marketing and a side of 10% sales. However, what I offer in well-roundedness I can lack in focus. Without guidance to help me prioritize, I get sidetracked and lose sight of the big picture. I recognize this as a sticking point and know that going forward, I should seek an environment that takes this into account.


Having the confidence to accept my flaws- instead of pretending they don’t exist – is what will bring me closer to finding the perfect fit. Once found, this environment will utilize my strengths while making amends for my shortcomings. Seamless victories could not have taught me this.


Reshma Sajuani, founder of Girls Who Code and a current New York Public Advocate candidate, says if she could gift young professionals anything, it would be “failure and the confidence to try again”. Failure comes with an ability to say “I lived through that horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.” Kind of like riding a bike. After falling several times, you care less about how much of a klutz you appear to be. You simply get back up and repeat the cycle enough times until you’re in the Tour de France.


I moved to New York with one goal: to learn about startups. I’ve managed to land some jobs. I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve failed. And I’m so grateful. My failures are the greatest lessons life can offer me, even for simply telling me what I’m not good at. Now that I have greater clarity on my  strengths & weaknesses, I can more confidently pursue the role I’m made for. My hope is that we embrace failure as relentlessly as we pursue success. One is not better than the other, as they both simply bring us closer to the goal.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

 – Samuel Beckett

About Lynne: Lynne Guey is a 20something writer in New York City. Having worked for a year

and a half at New York City startups, she is ready to take her next big leap into journalism.

Follow yer on Twitter @heyguey, and check out her writings on socialynne.com.


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