Fail Fast, Fail Often

Fiona spent most of her working life as a head-hunter and career coach, two years ago she became a professional basket maker. Her coaching methods have undoubtably helped her to be the maker she is today – happy and fulfilled.We asked Fiona to write for us on account of her experience.

Fail Fast, Fail Often
Fiona Arnold - Braythorne Baskets.
Professor emeritus John D. Krumboltz died May 4, 2019. (Image credit: Linda A. Cicero)

Who was Krumboltz and why do his theories really matter – working towards a goal?

John Krumboltz, a groundbreaking figure in career theory, left an indelible mark on the field before his death a few years ago. Renowned for his motivational and commonsense approach, Krumboltz's theories resonate deeply, offering practical insights into career development. His unique blend of wisdom and humour sets him apart as a theorist in my view.

My personal encounter with Krumboltz's ideas unfolded during a challenging period when I moved to Yorkshire and faced the need to earn some money. I took a short contract in a school careers department, and it was here that I came across the ideas, I explored further on YouTube and read his book "Fail Fast, Fail Often." There was a striking similarity between Krumboltz's philosophy and Newton's law in physics – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  In a nutshell without action nothing will change. Progress results from taking small, intentional steps toward a goal.

Krumboltz encourages curiosity as a catalyst for progress, urging individuals to explore beyond their comfort zones and challenge assumptions. He recognizes that goals may not always be clear initially, advocating for a journey of experimentation and learning through lived experiences and conversations with others. Despite the inevitable challenges and rejections in life, Krumboltz underscores the importance of persistently trying new things in order to make things happen.

Reflecting on my lifelong pursuit of creativity, I realised I have been living my life by Krumboltz's principles.  Finally two years ago I went to a workshop to make a log basket and working with willow sparked a transformative journey. Enrolling in a City & Guilds Course in basketry I used my career work to sustain my basketry endeavours. I had found a balance that preserved both financial stability and artistic spontaneity.  Roll the clock on again and I am working towards financial independence through my career in basketmaking, repairing old baskets, teaching and freelance weaving for other makers in Yorkshire. Doors are opening and it looks like my small business has a sustainable future.

Of course I have tough days when things don’t go as I’d want them to or I make stupid mistakes, but I am fulfilled and happy. I remain committed to curiosity, learning, experimentation, and conversations with my basketmaking community. I take action whenever I can – you just never know …

The final piece of this tale starts with me battling with imposter syndrome over New Year.  I opened an email from Jack and Kate (We are Makers). Their message resonated so profoundly that I responded with gratitude and shared my story which in turn made me realise how much I’d achieved and how far I’d come. Jack wrote back intrigued by my careers work and invited me to write and share my journey.  So my advice to you as an x careers coach is to be brave, keep taking action however small, keep being curious and have conversations with others.

If you want to read John Kromboltz book I have attached a link below:
Fail fast, Fail often.

Fiona Arnold
Stainburn Yorkshire
Feb 2024

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