By Kathryn Taylor Musseau
Welcome to the second article in a series created to help you discover your story and present it engagingly.
Let’s define failure.
Some of the times we remember most vividly and most painfully are occasions when we pursue a goal and fail to achieve it. It can be very difficult to, as we say here in Newfoundland and Labrador, “pull up your bootstraps and mosey on down the road.” But what is failure? Simply speaking, it is lack of success. If we have genuinely poured our hearts into something, lack of success seems a considerable understatement. An understatement we take very personally, and often, something we want to forget. Depending on the scale of the event, it may not even be possible to do that. What is possible, however, is to change how you handle failure.
Does failure define you?
The answer—again, simply speaking—is no. Failure does not define you. What it does is shape, educate, challenge, and, ultimately, bring a stronger, more experienced you to the game. All good things, you’d agree in principle. So why is it so difficult to acknowledge our imperfection? Certainly human nature plays a role, but there are ways to dissect these difficult experiences and find the nuggets within.
Be less shiny and more real.
Mistakes make compelling stories. Everyone can identify with moments of darkness. Hone your ability to convey this and you become genuine, authentic, experienced. Then failure does not own you but becomes your lure: a reason for people to respect you. In this world of social media, where we are bombarded daily with images and stories of success, more stories and events about the journey are a welcome respite.
Tell your story. Don’t hide it.
Social media feeds have created a culture of perfection. We are seduced by consistently curated, shiny, beautiful stories. But are they as compelling as we may think? When we talk only of our successes and never of our failures, the image of perfection can be, well . . . monotonous and, frankly, disingenuous. This scale of continuous content can create a form of malicious envy that leaves others feeling inadequate rather than inspired. It’s important to consider how we curate our content to be meaningful, helpful, intentional, and real.
This is not to suggest that your social media posts or stories become a string of your worst moments, but there may be opportunities in your life lessons to craft valuable messages of commonality. Talking about failure more positively dressed as personal challenges can cultivate closer and more meaningful connections with people who may welcome, respect, and learn from your experiences. To be human is to fail, but to fail to be human is another matter entirely.
What could you share that might help someone in a meaningful way? Not just another success story, but a real-life lesson. Let that be your story occasionally, and don’t be afraid to tell it. While everyone likes a happy ending, they also enjoy the conflicts and challenges that
take us there. Give some thought to your story. What imperfect moments might you share that your audiences or customers would understand and appreciate? Learn to talk about your imperfect moments in a compelling way and captivate respect for you, your knowledge,
and your business.