After going on a long run, I had a little more perspective. I am only at fault for the things I can control, and I can only do my best to respond to things and events outside my control. A lot of the times, we mix up these two bubbles (things in our control, things outside our control), and we start blaming ourselves for other people's problems, or we also blame others for problems of our own. Having more self-awareness and humility goes a long way in separating these two bubbles, and it will also make us calmer and more positive moving forward.
I listened to the podcast, "The Art of Manliness: How to Win at Losing". In it, Sam Weinman talked about how some of the greatest perceived "losers" in our society found ways to make failure work for them, often by reframing the situation at hand and really understanding themselves. His examples, which included Michael Dukakis, Dan Jensen, and Greg Norman (all people I have never heard of, or don't know much about), found ways to understand and conceptualize career failures that were unconventional, and in doing so found "inner peace". Dukakis framed his election loss to George Bush, not by saying that Bush had ran a dirty campaign (although there may be truth to that), but that he made some campaign mistakes on his own. Dan Jensen learned that he didn't perform well in the Olympics because he was too focused on the external reward (the gold medal), rather than enjoying the speed skating race itself. And Greg Norman, who had failed a major golf tournament in a highly public way, found humility and peace through his loss, by really just recognizing the reality of the situation. In all of these anecdotes, at least in the way that Weinman framed it, the protagonists learned to accept responsibility and reality to really move on.
Reviewing my early professional career so far, I can definitely point to both wins and losses. I've interned/worked at both large firms and small firms. I've worked with big teams and small teams. I've worked on small furniture scale projects, and full-blown developments. Through it all, the most important thing I have learned about is how to work with people (and how NOT to). Collaborating with others is one of the most difficult things in the world, and it takes immense time, patience, and effort to make it successful. You never know the personality and personal objectives of each person you collaborate with, and a lot of times you don't fully find out. There is often no time, and there is simply too much to do. In these dynamic situations, through "learning by doing", you do your best to accommodate each persons' idiosyncratic tendencies, and try to focus on the common project goal (which is to finish the building). The number one issue is always miscommunication about expectations, roles, and delivery. I expect that these issues will never, ever go away in my working life, but my ability and attitude to respond to them can and will increase.
When I feel like my teammate/client/manager/consultant is being difficult, I need to remember whether I communicated expectations correctly, and if I spoke up enough. When I think that a team member is heading towards a wrong direction, I need to understand his/her/their point of view, and if there are also inherent flaws in my own proposed direction. When there is an external factor that impedes on my own work, I need to fully communicate that to the team, so they understand the problem. When there are unrealistic expectations, I need to push back effectively and respect my own needs and my team's needs. When I don't know how to solve a problem, I need to skillfully use all the resources at my disposal, and then be courageous enough to reach out to others for help. When I am feeling desperate, I need to take a step back and analyze the situation --- am I truly desparate? Am I considering all the alternative choices that are well within my control? When I am emotionally compromised, I need to recognize that I am being emotional, and I need to take a step back. When I don't know something, I need to speak up and say "I don't know, but give me the resources to find out, and I will give you my best assessment of potential solutions." I should always have an honest assessment of my abilities and my underlying intentions, and I should always do my best to understand my collaborators' needs, before passing judgement on them and also on myself.