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The Best of AAQ: Failure

Career Advice |

We are starting an exciting new series at Levo called The Best of AAQ (Ask A Question). We will be showcasing our mentors’ advice about a weekly theme relevant to elevating your career.

This week’s theme is failure. You asked and our mentors answered!

Alexandra Macfarlane asked: What is your best advice for incorporating moments of failure into your career?

Donna Orender: Hi Alexandra… the big message is that there is learning in everything you do. Lessons come from both your positive and negative experiences. Most importantly, recognize what you have done well, what you can do better and that yes, you will make mistakes. It’s how you deal with them that will determine how you will move forward. Take it on, take it in, and move on!

Patti Langell asked: Many women would have quit after being rejected 18 times, how did you have the faith to continue on with your vision?

Shama Kabani: I’d like to think I was just brave, but that wouldn’t be accurate. I realized something huge at that time. The younger you are, the less you have to lose. Really at any point in life, we often perceive more is at stake than what reality shows to be true. The idea of failure is way more daunting than the actual experience.

The truth is that I didn’t know what to expect, and it worked in my favor. It isn’t always necessary or the best idea to see the full road ahead. You just need to start taking the first steps and that’s what I was able to do then.


Erica Young asked: My goal is to become a publicist, however I do not know where to begin and I am starting to become discouraged. Any advice?

Wonya Lucas: Don’t be discouraged! I think you should find the industry that you love the most first, and then find a few companies to focus on. When you identify a few companies, then I suggest that you find out who the current publicists are at those companies. If you can find a publicist from your alma mater, then reach out to that person and ask for an informational interview or discussion. Most people will help those from their alma maters. Good luck!

Kristen Andersson asked: As the founder, what advice do you have for budding entrepreneurs? How did you overcome hurdles when first starting out?

Caroline Ghosn: Entrepreneurship gets easier the more entrepreneurial actions you take. So my biggest advice is to get the ball rolling—start small, in whatever way feels most comfortable to you, whether it’s volunteering at a start-up, grabbing coffee with people you admire and asking them questions, or starting your own side project to get the flywheel going. The most important thing is getting to action in the first place, and realizing that perfect is the enemy of done in this context.

Initially, one big challenge for me personally was that I tend to try and make things perfect. This can be advantageous when I am painting or designing—because every detail matters in that case—but can be a huge inhibitor to entrepreneurship. Put something out there, and get the conversation going and feedback going with the people in your life, and it will get easier and easier to create new ideas and concepts (I promise).

I got started by helping my friends out on their film project, re-immersing myself in painting, and participating in a blog that I believed in; these actions helped me to put my toes in the water and realize that I was happier and more productive in this newly constructed “alternative” life.

Ella Toselli asked: What lead you to be so passionate about advancing Millennials and what do you think their greatest strengths are?

Joanna Bloor: It’s very simple. Let me start by telling you a story about me.

As a young person (and still today frankly) I was full of energy and hope and excitement. I was busting at the seams with hopes and dreams. Unfortunately, the people around me didn’t think that my hopes and dreams were the right kind. They thought my ideas were whimsical and immature. The people around me wanted me to be more like them and not like me. 
Does this sound familiar?

Then I moved to Texas. Yes, Texas. (Read the rest of Joanna’s answer here!)

Ismael Jimenez asked: How do you deal with failure and what is your advice to young entrepreneurs like me especially with regards to failure?

Warren Buffett: If you fail, you really do dust yourself off and get right back in. You’re going to fail in some things. You’re going to have some human relationships that don’t work out. You know, a fairly significant number of people get divorced. That’s a very big decision to have turn out badly. I think if you study almost everybody and read, you’ll see that everybody fails at some things—particularly when you’re younger. You have less experience in evaluating humans and knowing abut whatever it may be. It isn’t fatal. If you’re healthy, and particularly living in this country, there’s going to be an opportunity that comes along.

Almost everything in my life that looked like a failure has turned into a success. The world isn’t over. If you have bad luck in health, that’s tough. I’ve been lucky on that. If you’re healthy and you’re bright and you’ve got decades ahead of you, if something goes wrong, the world isn’t over yet.


Interested in being featured in The Best of AAQ? Ask our mentors your questions—they are on board to help you! Check back each week to see if your question has been featured!

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Yes! I'm loving "The Best of AAQ" series. So many great questions have been posed to the various mentors; it's really helpful seeing how everything relates around a common theme.


Happy to see this series!


I love the idea of this series! Good to see that other Levo users are asking about common struggles in the workplace


The theme of this AAQ feature is great - so many questions I've found myself and others asking on mentor profiles involve a sense of fear of failure, and I'm happy the first AAQ article highlighted this!


Love the best of AAQ! Such a great new series! And failure is such a great topic to start with, as everyone experiences it at some point in life. I absolutely love Warren Buffet's advice and dusting yourself off and getting back up. And, looking for ways to turn failures into successes is so important in life!


This series is great! The Best of AAQ will be great for when I have a busy week and need a little recap of advice. Failure is something we don't want to face but it is good to know what to do in the face of it!


This series is such a great idea. It's so helpful to have a compilation of answers on one topic to get the best of what you're looking for! This is an insightful piece on how to pick yourself up and dust yourself off when you've experienced failure. Looking forward to more Best of AAQ!


I am so excited for this series and all that it will showcase! Failure is something that everyone, no matter what industry, faces and it's wonderful to have advice about failure in one place. This tied everything together so nicely!

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Levo is a growing community of professional women seeking advice, inspiration, and the tools needed to succeed. Levo is the Latin root of the word “elevate,” which captures our mission for professional women to ascend together, strengthening us all in the quest to achieve our career dreams. Follow us on Twitter @levoleague, like our Facebook Page, follow us on Instagram, and follow us on Pinterest.