Acknowledging weakness

I’m now evolving more and more in a world of (social) entrepreneurs. After years in academia, I enjoy its optimism, energy, and let’s-do-it attitude. But I also find it – sometimes – harsh and heartless.

The main element I stumble upon is a contradiction between rhetorics and attitude regarding failure and weakness. Everyone acknowledges that failure is part of success and setting a new risky venture demands not only time and intelligence, but also consistent emotional strength. Yet most people I come across in this world – more particularly their online persona – seem to wear a constant plastered smile on, as if real hardships happened only to others, but they were somehow exempt for the rule. Success is duly celebrated and broadcast, but failures, mess-ups or radical moments of doubt are hidden under the carpet.

I believe that fully acknowledging weakness and failures – your own, and that of others – is an important form of entrepreneurial wisdom, and essential to developing a healthy culture. From the classics, I learnt to suspect hubris. At the very least, sharing stories of rejection and mistakes, or simply reflecting on hopelessness and dark days, would not only allow us and those around us to better accept and survive them, but also – maybe – avoid the worst of them.

I’ve been thinking of designing a ‘share your failure’ event – and as I wrote this post, launched a message on the Hub Yammer group to test interest among the community. We’ll see what the response is. I’m curious.

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