Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Virtues of Failure: Arianna Huffington at GoToMeeting Panel Discussion on Social Networking

“Failure is not a problem,” said Huffington who joined a panel of four online experts today at the Tribeca Rooftop In New York City.  The event, impeccably organized by CITRIX online (CITRIX is the company that launched GoToMeeting, GoToAssit, and GoToPC) consisted of a series of presentations on social networking and online tools used for work and how these have transformed the world of business. Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, was joined by Aline Wolff, Clinical Associate Professor of Management Communication at NYU, Brett Caine, President of CITRIX online, TJ Keitt, Analyst for Forrester Research, and Chris Brogan, President of Human Business Works, who was the panel moderator.
Failure is not a problem, not an issue, not a concern. In fact, failure is the trigger that makes our inner wisdom pick up and lead us through change. It happened to Huffington, the entrepreneur admitted, three years ago when she fainted from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone as her head hit her desk. This interruption came as a shock to an excessively driven workaholic who, after a long career in other types of media, decided to begin blogging, a sphere reserved for the very young at the time. Five years later, the Huffington Post drives millions of readers to its daily blog and engages them in exciting discussions on a variety of issues.
In a world where hyper-mobility (constant connectivity, social networking, abundance of new devices and applications) has created immobility in people who have forgotten to look up, away from their smart phones and into the world, Huffington has learned to differentiate people in two categories: on one hand the smart ones who are always connected and cool and on the other the wise, who are able to unplug, disconnect as to allow themselves to look at life from a distance. This “disconnect” is what gives people the ability to gain a “bird’s eye view” of their problems and is a particularly handy trick for the entrepreneur who risks being consumed by the trivial and the pedantic in a non-stop effort to be present online.
In Brogan’s words, “stop snacking on apps” and allow yourself the luxury of real-time experiences that will enable you to sharpen your skills, develop a clearly defined perspective on social networking tools and their usage, and evolve as a human being who, whether online or face-to-face, is striving to build relationships of trust. For those who are afraid of missing a beat, take Brett Caine’s reassuring assertion: when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in April of 2010 online GoToMeetings doubled in number in Europe.
The volcano eruption was a “natural” type of failure and out of our control. But we still get the point. Failure is only a hint that the chosen direction is not as productive as once thought. Most probably growth potential is still present and will spring up elsewhere. Observe the valleys of your work and of your own physical strength as an indicator that something is not working properly. Immediately unplug. Introspect. Nap. Repeat if necessary. Pick up and go off to where your inner wisdom tells you. That’s the secret of personal success propelled by failure. 

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