From Fear to Triumph

I once worked with a client to develop storytelling techniques for use in business situations. Typically, these are stories with a teachable point of view. They are often told from the point of view of a life lesson learned. It could be a surprising insight gained from an otherwise unflattering light shown on the storytellers themselves, or perhaps a learning we have from watching the failure of another person’s actions.

They were petrified at the thought of standing before colleagues, sharing a less than proud moment from their lives. At the encouragement of the cohort with whom they were aligned, the moment came to stand in front of a classroom of high-powered executives and share the story they crafted over the course of an afternoon.

When the story reached its end, their fellow executives from all over the world, representing a wide variety of different industries, rose to their feet with the precision of the Rockets at Radio City Music Hall applauding that seemed to go on for some time. In all the years I’ve taught this program, I do not recall experiencing such a heartwarming appreciation for a story well told. The lesson learned is that we can be our own worst critic and when we simply trust in the process, something wonderful can emerge. In addition, we also grow in confidence the more we do the things that challenge us the most. Each building block that contributes to our courage makes us stronger and more willing to tackle the next.

It isn’t from theory that I draw lessons to help leaders overcome hurdles in their careers. It is from being in the trenches and learning from doing that comforts me in lifting others up.