French Lessons: Leadership through Failure

French Lessons: Leadership through Failure

In my 25+ years of working with business leaders, I have observed powerful, predictable patterns. Some patterns produce amazing outcomes while others lead to dissatisfaction, plateaus, or more serious consequences. Let me share a personal story to let you in on how my study of leadership and self-mastery got started. 

This quest for what I view as “the ultimate powerplay” (results + fulfillment) began when I was close to flunking French at the University of Michigan. As a wise and clever 20-year-old, I thought it would be interesting to study not Spanish, which was a language I had had 4 years of high school training in, but French. Yes, something fresh, romantic, and fun. Why not? It didn’t occur to me that every other student in French 101 actually had several years of study in French behind them and the class assumed that to be true for every student.  By the time I realized I was way in over my head, it was mid-terms. What was I going to do? I couldn’t cram for the tests; I couldn’t magically get my mouth to produce sounds my mind had yet comprehended. What was I to do? I tried my very best and got the results I most feared, a “D”, as in Devastated.  I had to find a better game plan, but what?

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