With the objective of elevating the ‘development’ mindset in people at Sapient as part of the TalentNext Conclave that is underway, I was asked to do a Leadership Confession story. About 30 people enrolled to hear me.
Before the event, I was wondering what I would talk about. Then I thought why not share a personal failure story – something that helped me discover the true purpose of my life and connected to my personal values and my being, challenged me like never before in my life but also brought to the fore the most feared skeletons from my closet. It was challenging to think about how to share the story- what will the audience think of me, how they would react, how I would feel after sharing etc.
But I went ahead and did it. I shared the most uncomfortable story of my life- a story in which the chief architect was my father; whose acidic remarks on how hopeless I was (when a teenager) drove my life for 17 long years. It ultimately became my motivation (negative) to prove him wrong – how this led me to be hyper-competitive as a person and excessively achievement oriented – all this to prove how wrong he was. This was a self-discovery I made as part of a behavioural lab that I underwent 12 years ago.
I was amazed on how much the story resonated with my audience. Many talked about how their parents were always pushing them, comparing them with others and how that resulted in creating an unhealthy competitive behaviour with their friends, colleagues and siblings alike. This behaviour has gotten deeply ingrained in our fabric and impacts the work environment and eventually the culture that we create at a workplace.
Today, I learnt that the power of sharing one’s vulnerability, one’s failures results is an acknowledgement of a big fact that we often ignore- we are human and entirely fallible. As the faces in the room lit up with empathy, it helped me realize that I wasn’t alone in my quest.
The quest is not for growth; the quest is not for power & recognition- it is to discover one’s purpose in life, the needs beneath one’s desires & ambitions in life. It is a quest for happiness and fulfillment. All of this does not come when we walk alone, it comes when we learn to walk together with people we love and care about. It comes when our happiness is shared with others and we are willing to share those of others.
Today, I found my cheese. I thought I was in the role of giving to others in the Talent Conclave at Sapient. The truth, however, is that I was getting back much more than what I was giving.