"Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently." -Henry Ford
The Failure Sessions features managers and business leaders telling their stories of learning through failure. Each episode will be a new tale of what the leader learned through their individual process of failure and how they became better as a result of it.
The best companies and leaders have learned through struggles as nobody has hit the target every time. The podcast represents an opportunity to learn from those who have gone through the business challenges that you may eventually face.
When Brooke Bains set out to start her own business, she had no idea what was ahead. What has she learned through the process? Everything!
Brooke is a consultant, a business coach, and now the startup founder of Bombshell. She has a ton of wisdom to share in her career journey and the perspective can help anyone in their current stage.
This is a must listen for anyone seeking advice on how to develop in their career.
This week's failure brief is designed to get you thinking about how you are showing up with your peers, friends, and teams during this incredibly challenging period of time.
Early in my career as an individual contributor, I focused on results and production first. I always thought that people who were going through challenging periods of time were using it as a way to mask their inability to produce first. I was completely wrong in this way of thinking, and it took me some moments as a leader to really understand the importance of leading with empathy first.
Today, the people in your circle need you more than ever. Take time out of your day to check in with people and show you care. Everyone is going through challenging moments, separate yourself from the pack by showing your empathy. As a leader, you will get 10x the production out of building relationships centered on care and empathy first.
Interviewing can be an incredibly emotional process that drains you mentally, but it's not how you interview that I'm focused on today it's all about what happens if you fail to land the role.
While nobody has a perfect track record through the interview process, I believe that it's all about how we bounce back and use the learning's to progress forward. Failing to land a job gives us the feedback and perspective for how to move forward. This information helps us to improve and gives us the fuel to be successful on the next round.
My own personal failures in the interview process have led me to where I am today. I'm incredibly thankful to Comcast telling me no in 2010, and Amazon telling me no in 2012 and 2014. If you've been following along on previous Failure Brief's then you'll know I was told no several times right out of college! These closed doors taught me to think different about my preparation and my brand. I used that feedback to eventually land the role I have today. In fact, I'm still using that feedback today to develop as it made a lasting impact on me I will never forget.
Remember, you're always being interviewed and the way you bounce back will define what happens next for you. I hope this week's episode gives you some insight the next time you find yourself being told no.
"Nobody who ever changed the world said, wow, that was easy"
Cayle Hunter and I first met in January 2019 when I tried to hire him. After our first call, it was obvious that he had talent. After meeting in person, I was even more hooked on his talent, approach, mindset, and intrigued by his background.
Then, I went online and watched the band he founded, Armed for Apocalypse, absolutely thrash on YouTube. We exchanged stories about baseball, and he told me what it was like to be on late night conference calls with Elon Musk during his time at Tesla. In short, another opportunity came along that he couldn't pass up, and we missed out on working together. While many would have deleted the phone numbers, we continued to stay in touch and I'm thankful we have.
Cayle is currently working as a consultant but his time at Tesla mixed with his growth trajectory prior gives him great perspective on the concept of learning as you go.
Cayle's story can be summed up by using words like relentless, fearless, and never being afraid to fail.
On learning from failure....."without failure, I would never have appreciated the opportunities I was given after" and "I didn't even get started on success in my career until I failed multiple times before"
On career development....."I went from trying to extract value from my employer to trying to add value for my employer"
On career advancement....."if you want something special, then act special"
On life principles......"my happiest moments have been when I've been authentic"
"Being impatient is half a mistake, that leads to a full mistake, and it eventually ends in regret" -Unknown
This week's Failure Brief digs into the topic of handling career impatience. This is a topic I've struggled with my entire career and I've only been able to tame the beast within due to the guidance and advice from mentors.
Career impatience can create incredible challenges for individuals seeking to grow their career with the right company and the right leadership team. It can lead to poor decisions that cause folks to jump ship and leave the opportunity that may have been the best in the long run. The thing that's kept me grounded on this topic is working for people I sincerely trust who have helped guide me.
Employees who are career impatient are also incredibly challenging to manage and they tend to take longer to develop in the long run as a result.
If you're struggling with the perspective on how to stay patient in your career, I hope this Failure Brief helps you to better understand the process and how to navigate.
"My biggest ah-ha moment is when you open your eyes one day and realize that the people you've surrounded yourself with didn't have your best interest in mind"
This week's guest is my closest friend, Matt McDaniel, General Manager, Pavement Surface Control (PSC). PSC is a family owned business that specializes in highway and road construction services including the placement and moving of concrete barriers, to striping parking lots. PSC also provides flagging services for road projects, pavement maintenance, and they've installed many of the highways signs you pass every day.
Matt has had to learn how to navigate leadership principles and his own development in the business in recent years and it hasn't come without challenge.
Listen to Matt as he explains how he's worked through his own personal growth and leading from the front.
On communication....."I've expected people to think I'm making the best decisions, but by not sharing the things that we're doing, it has created challenges."
"I was expecting people to trust me but I didn't communicate"
On leading with emotion...."it's hard to let things go but I have learned that you can't fix what has already happened, and you've got to go forward with what you've got."
If you want to hear a story of resiliency, tremendous hard work, tragedy, and the constant re-invention of a brand, you'll love this story.
I had a blast recording this week's episode with Maayan Gordon. Maayan is a jack of all trades, self taught at everything, story that I can't wait to interview again in the future. She's real, she's raw, she's funny and incredibly humble.
We covered many topics including her dropping out of college to write as a freelancer, the time she blew up her own home, how she started multiple businesses, and her new role as a Social Media Consultant and Influencer. Oh did I mention, she's also a glass artist?
Some notable quotes from Maayan:
On learning through failure; "tragedy is a blessing in disguise and creates resiliency."
On keeping focus while building a business; "focus works like a magnifying glass, the longer you hold it in one place, the quicker you start the fire within"
Huge thank you to Maayan for joining me! Enjoy!
Visit her on TikTok here: https://www.tiktok.com/@worldofglass
This week's episode takes a break from the guest interview and focuses on a pivotal moment I've learned from as a professional.
As a student at Washington State University, I failed to take advantage of the resources around me including meeting with professionals, attending events, and leveraging the relationships of my Professors. After I graduated, the struggle began as I couldn't find a job and I ended up in a role that wasn't the right fit for me.
Once I decided to take advantage of the resources around me including finding mentors and networking, my dream career path was unlocked.
Whether you're an individual contributor, or the CEO, you can't do it alone.
I hope you enjoy this story as it's one that will forever leave a mark on me in my career.
"If you say you're going to order bacon and eggs for someone, you damn well better do it!"
Episode 2 of The Failure Sessions is filled with several great key takeaways but one statement that Frank made that stuck with me was, "you have to fail in order to figure it out."
My guest this week was Frank Palino, Director of Local Sales with KING 5 Media Group, a TEGNA company. Frank and I have a 12 year friendship that began while we were both Account Executives. Today, Frank leads a team of Managers, Account Executives, Account Coordinators and others while being held responsible for millions of dollars in annual revenue.
I sincerely appreciated Frank's vulnerability and approach to so many topics around his own personal growth and development as a leader. Some quotes that stood out to me included:
On delivering positive feedback......"be specific" (too often we are vague where someone succeeded)
On failure...."if you're authentic and you're real, you will know how to address your failures"
On managing different personalities....."just ask the questions, how do you like to be managed, ask questions"
On creating a culture that embraces learning through failure...."we learned how to use radical candor and we practice it in the workplace"
Huge thank you to Frank for joining me. This episode is one of the longest I've recorded and I really enjoyed our time together. We may have to do a second segment in the future.
I first met Erik Ricard in 2012 when he was running Account Management teams at Amazon. Erik spent eight years at the e-commerce giant, and recently departed to run Account Management & Strategy at Wunderman Thompson Commerce.
Erik provides several great thoughts on leadership, adversity, and learning from failure through his career. Some quotes include:
"every person is going to need a different version of you"
"people like to be led, they like to be able to lean on their manager when they need it"
"open the channel to get direct feedback on your teams so you can coach"
On the importance of learning from failure.....
"the greatest power you can have is self-awareness, the person who is self-aware knows what their flaws are and what their strengths are"
"we learn through adversity, it teaches us to work harder"
The real story of how I first met Erik was that I interviewed with Amazon in 2012. Erik was on my loop for a job that I did not get in the Advertising Sales department. In 2014, Amazon called me back again to interview for a role on his team. After speeding me through all of the loops and interviews, they told me I did not get the job again. I was crushed, but it was Erik's feedback and attention that he carefully gave me post interview that left such an impression on my future. In fact, Erik and those two Amazon interviews have played a huge part in the way I run my personal brand today including this podcast launch, my brand influence on LinkedIn, and my writings. I am forever grateful to the difference that Erik made in my life by providing me honest feedback and taking the time to continue to connect with me in the years to come.
I learned more from the failure of those two interviews at Amazon than I would have learned from actually earning the role.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I enjoyed recording it.