We all know how to tell a story.
People who have overcome the biggest challenges in life, in career and in business have amazing stories to tell. We listen in awe; we get inspired and aspire for the same outcome, or more.
What we do not realize, however, is that on the other side of success is failure—which we hardly ever hear about, and yet, it happens, perhaps even more frequent than we believe. We all have stories of failure and mistakes, something we are afraid to share for fear of being judged.
We do not hear about it often because we do not really want to talk about it. Reliving failure is painful, even embarrassing. Admittedly, it is hard to acknowledge that we have failed at something, but it is time we accept that these are things we learn from and not to be ashamed about.
But does it even matter and why is there a need to think about it? Because it helps us realize how integral the lessons are to appreciate success more…and then we become better storytellers ourselves. Better because you know the path to success as much as you know the path to failure. You are more adept in navigating the tricky roads, and you are not afraid to explore and share it.
To learn more about the important role failure plays in our life and career, please read on below.
What are the things you have failed at and what have you learned from them? Please share them with us.
Success Stories Are Great — Failure Stories Are Even Better
Successful people are great storytellers. They have perfected the art of persuasion.
I recently attended a talk by Harvard Business School Professor, Rob Kaplan, where he touched on this topic of storytelling. He referenced that he encourages his students to perfect their Success Story and their Failure Story. A failure story?
You see, the only way to truly know who you are as a leader and a manager is to reflect on your failures. He continued that failures are defining.
I tried it out and was reminded of what a failure I am and how it has shaped my career decisions and the way I manage and lead. It isn’t easy for me to publicize this, but here goes:
Losing my high school presidential election taught me to be clearer about my plans, vision, and objectives when persuading others to get behind me…Getting dinged from 2 out of the 4 top business schools taught me that fit matters just as much as academics when evaluating what organization or job you should align yourself with. My failure story goes on and on. And when looking back at this story I realize that each of these failures has made me a better businessperson and leader…And while it hurts to revisit failure, it can open your eyes.
Give it a try. I ensure that revisiting your failures will bruise your ego, but it will strengthen you.
–by Sonia Kapadia
To read the full article, please go to Forbes.com.