FAIL – First Attempt In Learning.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam passed away a few months ago. Widely recognised as the best President India has ever had.

He was an extremely positive person and had a knack of abbreviating rather negative words into positive ones.

END was Effort Never Dies, NO was Next Opportunity and FAIL was First Attempt in Learning.

On reading these it really got me thinking of how most of my own personal success has actually been borne from a pathway of failures that spring boarded to a number of successes. Some expected but many unexpected.

My very first trainee recruiter that came to work for me was one such example. I must confess at the time I was very nervous and anxious about such an undertaking. Leadership, learning and development were all very new concepts and being a very small company at the time I had no training or experience. The consultant joined on January the 3rd 2000 with much enthusiasm and I merely asked him to shadow me and do whatever I did. It’s easy I told him – “recruitment is not rocket science!!”

In all fairness to him with the little tools he was given, limited training and support he was a brave person to have taken the job. Cutting a long story short we tried everything from making more calls in a day to making longer calls to interviewing in different ways, to creating new client development angles, and too many more initiatives to mention. His target was 18 placements that year and he ended on 1.

15 odd years later I can confess that having tried so many things and still to have failed and that too so badly both of us were sitting there with huge levels of self-doubt. He was wondering if he really had it in him to be a recruitment consultant, I was wondering whether I really had it in me to recruit the right people and then develop them into successful recruiters. I have always believed in taking people with no recruitment background and train them myself for a number of reasons.

Anyway we both broke off for Christmas and had 10 days away from each other. In 2001 in his 2nd year with me this consultant made 47 placements. It was an absolutely amazing and outstanding performance. In fact in one of the months that year he made 14 placements in 1 month. I cannot help but to wonder if he had not been able to fail, take risks and learn from them would he have ever become such an exceptional recruiter. For all those who know little about what is realistically achievable for a recruiter and what is bad, good or exceptional – 47 placements would be regarded as exceptional at the level he was recruiting for.

So FAIL, FAIL and FAIL again. If you’re not put off by it, have the right mind set and attitude you will eventually SUCCEED in style.

I can’t help myself but to end this on another lovely quote from the positive President –

“Difficulties in your life do not come to destroy you, but help you realise your hidden potential and power. Let difficulties know that you too are difficult.”

Thank you Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, may you rest in peace.