Early in my marketing career I externalized all failures. When we chased a project and didn’t win I would find any excuse for how and why it went wrong outside of blaming myself. Perhaps I would blame our project manager for waiting too long to meet with the client, or I would blame one of the engineers for messing up the project approach, or blame one of the subconsultants for not having the right qualifications to assist us in winning the work.

What was the result of the externalization? I didn’t advance, I didn’t learn, I didn’t grow.

Eventually I learned that I needed to internalize failures, even when they were not completely my fault.

We lost a large project one time because one of our subconsultants formatted their proposal incorrectly. I could blame the subconsultant but I didn’t. I blamed myself for not doing a final quality check on the proposal before delivering it to the client. As a result, that mistake was never made again.

In my photography business I try to internalize everything I possibly can to see what can be learned from it to better my approach to my work.

It takes times and attention to do this; but one must to move closer towards their goals.

James Patrick
IG @jpatrickphoto