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Michigan State University

Congrats Grad!

Congratulations on your graduation from MSU! This is a big accomplishment that you should take the time to celebrate. Remember to thank the people who helped you along the way, too. Graduation season brings a lot of advice about the unlimited possibilities available to you post-degree. It’s true that adventure awaits and it’s up to you to take advantage of it. There is also something else out there that is equally important and perhaps even more motivating.


You’re likely asking yourself why I wrote an advice column for eager young professionals about failure? Stay with me. I’ll get there, I promise. Our culture celebrates “overnight” successes. We crave and reward instant gratification. Entire industries — beauty, cosmetics, diets, gyms, luxury cars — are built on our fear of failure and our unwillingness to expose our scars. Some of the world’s most beloved entrepreneurs, writers and athletes were all failures and we can and should learn from them.

Oprah Winfrey was told she didn’t have the star power required to be a news anchor. Walt Disney was fired for lacking creativity. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln lost eight elections.

Failure is a normal part of life and evidence that you are trying to learn something new. Recovering from failure requires resilience, what neuroscientist and researcher Angela Duckworth calls grit (her book of the same name is worth the read). Try. Fail. Get back up and do it again. Watch how people around you fail. Watch how they react. Pay attention to how they respond when you fail. Find a squad of people who will tell it to you straight — when you succeed and when you don’t.

So, go, fail. A lot. It’s where the magic happens. Go Green!


Monica Marcelis Fochtman is a Career Clarity Coach and Resume Writer, and the Founder of Sheldrake Consulting. She helps mid-career professionals and industry changers get unstuck and regain their confidence so they can love work again. She works one-on-one with her clients to help them not just survive but thrive during big career transitions. She provides personalized career coaching, job search strategies, resume and cover letter writing and interview coaching grounded in leadership development and career advancement. She earned her BA in English and Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Boston College and her PhD from the HALE Program with a cognate in Women in Leadership, from Michigan State University. Learn more about Monica



Contributing Writer(s): Monica Marcelis Fochtman