Failure… It’s Not Fatal

by Dia Buchanan, Recruitment Coordinator, Belmont University

As the Spring semester begins, we begin to reflect on this past semester and set goals for the New Year. I encourage you to reflect on lessons learned from 2017, particularly your failures.

As a child, I adored the film The Wiz. The 1978 rendition of the Wizard of Oz is a story about four strangers-turned friends and their journey of seeking character traits which they unknowingly already possess. I used to watch this movie multiple times each day almost every day. My favorite scene was when Dorothy and the Scarecrow searched to find the yellow brick road. As the music and dancing began, I would pretend I was Dorothy and I would force my Nana to act like the Scarecrow and carry me on her back down the yellow brick road-also known as the hallway between our kitchen and living room. It was not until I was an adult that I recognized the principles and teachable moments that were evident throughout the movie. Each character’s journey illustrates a life lesson that captures the spirit of service, courage, and celebration.

My personal experiences relate mostly to the Cowardly Lion because he is able to put aside his own fears to help his friends. In The Wiz, the song, Be a Lion is sung by Diana Ross and Ted Ross. The lyrics recite the following:

If on courage you must call,
Then keep on tryin’ and tryin’ and tryin’,
You’re a lion.
In your own way, be a lion.

Keep on Tryin’.

These lyrics, along with the essence of the Cowardly Lion’s character, relate directly to the experiences of failure. When we are faced with obstacles, challenges, and failures, we have to keep on tryin’ and face them head on, as each new day brings new opportunities. The “tomorrow” of our career paths has finally offer us a golden opportunity. Although we have encountered obstacles in getting ‘here’, the journey has made us who we are as professionals. Have a courageous spirit, and never give up. Do not be discouraged by your failures, look at them as learning opportunities.

We are not connected by atoms, we are connected by our stories.

From my experiences, I learned that when things go wrong, we cannot go with them. Delays should never be seen as denials. My experiences of trial, tribulation, and failure within my personal career path relate directly to my passion for encouraging young people in their career development plans. We will all fail at some point in our lives, but when we share our stories, we help others achieve.

Embrace growth and foster growth within others.

Facing setback allows failure to become an opportunity for personal strength and character building. By being honest and sharing our stories, we inspire others to focus on the process of achieving their professional goals and the positive lessons taught in every situation they may encounter along the way. Courage is recognizing the small wins and the continuation of pursuing the big ones.

Talk It Over:

What small wins did you and your team accomplish in 2017?
What challenges have you learned from?
How will you share your story and help others achieve?

Happy Reflection and Goal Setting! Remember, you don’t have to wait until your summer retreat, one-on-ones, or the new year to set new goals. Reflect and renew on today.


Dia Buchanan enjoys employer engagement and fostering collaborative relationships among employers, university representatives and students. She has 5 years of experience, exclusively focused in higher education administration with an emphasis on recruitment and relationship building. Her work has encompassed many aspects of student development, ranging from college admissions counseling to job search and career exploration advising. This experience has been obtained through undergraduate admissions and career services. Dia currently serves as Recruitment Coordinator in the Office of Career & Professional Development at Belmont University.

Dia holds a M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration and a B.S. in Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University. Her credentials include Global Career Development Facilitation and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Certification. She presently serves within SoACE as co-chair of the Employer Relations Summit and Assistant Program Coordinator of Tweet Chats and Social Media for the Employer Relations Knowledge Group (ERKG). Connect with her on LinkedIn for collaboration.