It’s common ground today for people to get up the stage and recount their journey to their current status (whether success or steadily growing towards success) during a speech or motivational talk. It has also become common place for most of them to share stories about their humble beginnings and it looks like all of them almost always have a humble beginning. It now looks like if you didn’t have a ‘humble beginning’ but was able to make it (succeed), then your own story wouldn’t be fun to hear or inspire on stage. Such motivational talks hide a part of the story i think is as important as the part mostly recounted. Let’s look at a few of them (most popular stories in motivational talks) and identify that part which if told could have as much impact as what was only told.
Dropping out of school?
This one is most common with tech entrepreneurs who after they succeed will tell you how they didn’t make it while at school or had to drop out to actually make it. You may know of a few with whom this is common, Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates. Now the other part is, when recounting these stories most of these guys will not tell you exactly or explicitly what initiated their dropout or why they were unable to finish while still going about their business and this part of the story that is untold, i feel is very important as well. This could be a guide to indicate at which points or stage in school one could consider such an option to have a chance of making it with one’s idea.
Rejected for a job n times?
Another story is about how they were rejected for jobs at given companies for a number of times (n). These people will tell you how they were rejected n times but never really seek to find out why, hence they can’t tell you if you were not fit at that time to join or what exactly went wrong. Sometimes i think the real stories behind that could be one of nonchalant behavior or general incompetence at the time. People are rejected jobs for a wide array of reasons depending on the company’s hiring needs and requirements so identifying some of these could be a good way of preparing people as they go through that path. Such speeches need to be accompanied with a few reasons as to why the rejection. As an example we find Jan Koum and Brian Acton, former employees at Yahoo and founders of whatsapp applied to Facebook and failed for reasons you may not get to hear from them on stage, but then facebook bought over their company for $19 billion.
Fired from a company you started?
Another phenomenon is the one of being fired from a company you started. This was most common in the silicon valley with tech entrepreneurs of the 20th century for example Steve Jobs at Apple. True they may have been fired at one point, but again the reasons as to such a decision need to be made clear. if at the time such decisions were necessary, then it should not cloud the reason for the entrepreneur to make known during their speeches. It is important to learn from ones’ mistakes so that one may reconsider current or future actions in the enterprise. So just saying that ‘i was fired from my company’ isn’t enough talk and should be justified on the circumstances in which such decisions were made. It even turned out that years after Job’s firing from Apple, that was the wrong choice for the company to make. However, during speeches of this nature, it is important to make know the circumstances that led to such decisions.
There are a lot more of such speeches i could analyse but that would be a very long article than this blog could possibly contain. The general point is that successful entrepreneurs should recount the full stories (both sides of the story) when they are called up on stage for motivational or experience talks. The audience should aslo inquire about the parts of the stories untold from the presenters. This would go a long way to contribute in the minds of the audience.