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Learn from Successes and Failures

May 28, 2008

Brad Feld has a great post up today titled “What do you Suck At?  I love the exercise he describes that asks participants to talk about what they suck at.

I was recently listening to a podcast from the Standford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar by Tina Seeling.  She has an assignment in one of her classes for students to write a failure resume.  While typical resumes focus on successes, she suggests that we learn more by understanding our failures.

Why? To me, failures and shortcomings define your learning. Great failures and great successes are closely related. By focusing on failures, you find new ways to approach old problems and ensure you grow, compensate, and become more successful.  Brad says it well: “The meta-message was that we all suck at some things; understanding them and being able to articulate them is the first step to addressing (or managing) them.” They also keep us humble.

So, what do you suck at?

PS: If you don’t subscribe to the ETL seminars, which are freely available on the Stanford site or on iTunes, I highly recommend them.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2008 12:11 pm

    In the spirit of this post, I will share one of the things I suck at: Schmoozing. Dictionary.com defines it as: “to chat idly; gossip.” I’m especially bad at it in a business context as I want to ensure I am using time with clients and partners productively. What this misses is that schmoozing also has a connotation of building relationships that may pay off later. I often assume that by focusing on important topics I do that better. But, I could suck a little less at it and see benefits. In the spirit of self-improvement, I started two business conversations yesterday with a question about a person’s name and both times the schmoozing helped to set a more relaxed tone to the real discussion and maybe build rapport with the person. Here’s to sucking less.

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