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Wesley Faulkner: Turning setbacks into opportunities

Wesley Faulkner: Turning setbacks into opportunities

Wesley Faulkner is Head of Community at SingleStore. It’s his latest role following 20+ years of operating and leadership across product management, software and hardware implementation, and building developer relations & tech communities.

In Part II of our session with Wesley, we dive into reflection exercises, personal diversification, self-learning tactics, and overcoming setbacks in his career.

What Reflection Frameworks Do You Swear By?

I pretty quickly found a mentor who had me do exercises centered around questions like:

  • What are the things I’m good at?
  • What do other people say I’m good at?
  • When do I feel accomplished in my role?
  • What non-work activities and events feel rewarding?
  • How can I experience more of that fulfillment?

It drove home the idea that a career does not have to check all of these boxes for me. All of my needs do not have to be met by one source. That allowed for a sort of personal diversification and self-learning.

A few books have been great for me on that front.

You Can Change Other People dives into separating internal feelings from external actions. If someone yells at me, rather than taking it at face value, I’ll tap into my emotional reaction to the stimuli. Maybe it’s rooted in the way I grew up in my household.

Just Work discusses ideal structures for enhancing people in the workplace, which made me reflect on my past and present situations, what failings were mine, and what failings were due to the system I was involved in.

How Do You Turn Setbacks into Growth?

It’s very human to push back in moments like that, to say, “It was your fault, not mine.” Because that’s way easier than genuinely confronting the thing you struggle with. But if you’re struggling, you’re just wasting a ton of energy.

I didn’t make these realizations until lockdown and isolation in 2020 happened. I couldn’t run and distract myself anymore, so I had to confront many things.

That led to a lot of personal growth and rediscovery.

Incredibly, I feel like I’ve had zero setbacks since then. Everything has been a blessing of riches — personal growth, professional growth, visibility.

I feel like I’ve leveled up on almost every plane.