Re-writing my failure story

Written by Payal

March 15, 2023

I’m pretty sure I can’t call myself a failure.

Could someone please tell my brain?

Looking back on my corporate career – I don’t feel I achieved anything. I never felt good enough, always missing the mark somehow. Just when I thought I was doing well, I’d get some feedback that would tell me otherwise.

  • Me nodding my head and saying ‘mm hmm’ in acknowledgement when someone was speaking was distracting.
  • My presentation that provided background information on the ‘why’ was too basic.
  • My presentation that jumped right into the how was too confusing.
  • I was sarcastically thanked for making the time to join a meeting I was only told about 10 minutes prior – when I was on a completely different location of the building.

I wasn’t allowed to complain about this. My job was to be better next time, learn from this error. And I did.

But there was always something. Why didn’t any boss find me perfect?

In fact I did have such a boss at one point. A boss who valued my input, tried not to burden me with work even though he knew I could make short work of something. And what did I think of this?  

    1. My boss was up to something. Or,
    2. My boss was stupid.

In fact that boss was NOT up to something and was also not stupid. But that was my first reaction. No one could be kind or appreciative of me who was in a position of senior leadership unless they were patronizing me or unintelligent or…

…I had somehow fooled them all.

It didn’t matter if I was getting acknowledged in the form of bonuses, public commendations, or promotions.

I knew I was a fraud.

What a waste of time that was.

In reality – almost anyone who has worked with me would tell you how analytical I was, organized and professional. My confidence during presentations with the toughest of c-suite leaders made some of my colleagues wonder how I did it (strong deodorant helps).

. . . .but even writing this makes me uncomfortable. As if I’m trying to say I’m so great.

But I am. I am great.

And so you are you.

We’re not perfect, of course. Perfect isn’t real. Maybe it’s real for the moment, but it’s not lasting. We’re all works in progress.

One of my greatest desires is to help you see how wonderful you are, how the nodding when someone is speaking is actually validating to the speaker. The presentation where you took the time to explain the why showed your consideration for your audience (for those who will never admit they didn’t understand something) and by jumping straight into the how it’s because you knew their time was limited.

You can re-frame your story – or the story someone else has been telling you.

Let’s do this together?


If you’re here, and you’re considering how I might be able to support you, why not schedule a call with me? It’s free. There’s absolutely no pressure to buy anything – it’s just two people having a chat and seeing where it could go from there.


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