The Genuine Human Connection: Authentic, Meaningful Conversations

Imagine you are at a conference, and you don’t see the typical, perfectly presented people standing on the stage, sharing successes, but instead, you are at the failure conference.

The people on the stage are talking about the biggest obstacles and challenges they’ve experienced and how they overcame them. You think to yourself, “They’re not that different from me.”

And by the way, they have these failure conferences – e.g., FailCon, Fail Safe. However, does it have to be a conference dedicated only to failure?

What if it were part of every conference. Of every team meeting. Or, what about every one-on-one conversation about things that matter?

What? No. Wouldn’t that be negative?

I’d like to argue, it’s quite the opposite. It’s real. It’s authentic. And it’s human. It’s actually the more “real” conversation you may have all day.

What if…

… people shared their biggest challenges and struggles that they were experiencing, the progress that they’re making, as opposed to the outcomes, and you sit there wondering, “I don’t think we’ll ever have the budget. I don’t think I’ll ever have the support to get so far down the line, and frankly, I don’t know where to start.”

When we attend a conference, we are excited about the things we’re going to learn. We are ready to be inspired. But in my experience, what I find is people leave those conferences feeling inspired, but also overwhelmed. “I’ve so much to do. There are so many great ideas.” What if, you see people in progress of their success, and not necessarily at the end?

I encourage you to have authentic conversations, whether it’s at your team meetings, planning content on your conference agenda or at your next leadership meeting including about what needs to be improved. Perhaps it’s the people you choose to share on a panel, not just their successes, but also dig into their failures, their struggles, their challenges, because this is how we authentically, meaningfully connect.

People are more likely to be in action when they can see the steps along the way than when they see the final destination. I embrace you to not necessarily paint a picture-perfect, idealistic world, but to dig into the struggles that we have in our lives and our careers, not because we’re negative, not because we’re defeatists, but because, in fact, this is how we truly serve people to be at their best.

I have a great new book out, Flip Side of Failing. It’s a resource to help you see how, if we look at failure as our success, it flips the very notion that we have on its head.

Many of you have conferences, leadership meetings, and team meetings where your failures are actually considered to be learning opportunities to dive into, to learn from, to make your business, your team and your relationships stronger. If you embrace and recognize failure, now you can embrace the flip side of failure, and that is your Greatness Magnified.

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

Judy Kucharuk

Director, Marketing and Special Events, Encana Events Centre

"Funny, full of energy and incredibly motivating – all words to use when describing Sarah and her passionate stage presence. We were fortunate to have Sarah join us as a speaker for Spark Women’s Leadership Conferences and her presentations about leveraging greatness hit the core of our objective at SPARK: “A rising tide lifts all boats”. I would not hesitate to recommend Sarah to other organizations that are searching for a well-prepared, well-organized, thoughtful and passionate storyteller."
Shelley VanVeen

Learning & Development Manager, Libro Credit Union

"Sarah brought so much energy and enthusiasm to our International Women’s Day event at Libro! Her message was uplifting, thought-provoking and truly appreciated by our team. Dealing with Sarah was wonderful – she was open, professional and willing to work with us to customize her message to incorporate our culture and connect to our topic and participants. During the session, she was a pro with a powerful message and a fantastic delivery. We had wonderful feedback from all that attended and can’t wait to have Sarah back for another session in the future!"
Sylvia D’Intino

Executive Director, Community Living Hamilton

"THANK YOU so very much for leading the engagement activities today! You’re a constant professional, with an amazing attitude and always seeing the great in everyone. I am grateful for how you have helped us this year to transform our in-person staff recognition events into virtual and on-location events. Our staff feel more inspired, appreciated and motivated after they hear you speak, and I know our amazing in-house team here looks forward to designing engaging appreciation events with your support."
Melissa Chaulk

Manager of Professional Development

Canadian Dental Hygienists Association

"We work hard at CDHA to give our members a wonderful conference experience, so we were thrilled to have received resoundingly positive feedback on Sarah's opening plenary keynote. It was the highest attended of the entire conference for both dates!"
Jamie Campbell

Director, The Center for People in Organizational Development, Sheridan College

"Smart, challenging, innovative, committed, dependable, and reliable, I highly recommend her for all your recognition needs. I have brought Sarah into my last two organizations to help build a culture of recognition and celebration. The focus on appreciation is more important now than ever."

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