Can you imagine soldiers with guns breaking into your family home, poking and prodding you as you hide behind a parent in fear? This is what Laleh Alemzadeh-Hancock said happened to her at just seven years old.
It was the first day of the revolution in Iran. Her father, the CEO of a successful textile company at the time, arranged for her family to safely flee the country, remaining behind to protect his employees. She said he was tortured and imprisoned for a year, then finally, reunited with his family in France. He chose not to speak of the experiences he had gone through, but to set his sights on a new vision. Through sheer will and determination, he saved enough to move them again to America.
Alemzadeh-Hancock said she learned from her father and the trauma she faced at a young age, that anything is possible, and no challenge or roadblock need hold you back from creating the life you truly desire. Over the years she has honed her abilities to see beyond the struggles of a person to the possibilities that lie humming within.
“If you want ongoing growth and profitability, keep your focus on possibility,” Alemzadeh-Hancock said. Now, she is inspiring individuals to approach success in this way, through her work as a certified Joy of Business facilitator.
“There is an enormous fear of failure embedded in the modern human psyche. This means that in times of challenge or change in direction, individuals tend to naturally panic; they withdraw and pull away from possible future growth and success,” Alemzadeh-Hancock said. “It is from this limited perspective that people begin a desperate search for logical conclusions; solutions that are often built on the same thinking that created the challenge.”
Drawing upon 28 years of expertise building successful consulting firms, service and product organizations as well as leading not-for-profits and corporates through operational change, Alemzadeh-Hancock said she understands the critical elements that are required to proactively create a growing business while responding to the needs of the expanding and competitive marketplace. She now works closely with individuals and companies, inspiring them to see possibilities where others may see problems – an outlook that she feel has underpinned her successful career.
“I always say, the mountain does not have to stop you and neither do challenges. What if all challenges are just information on what needs refinement? Instead of focusing on what hasn’t worked, the key is to highlight what is working – what is possible – and start building a solution from there,” Alemzadeh-Hancock said. According to her, this enables a more expansive approach to decision making, such as intuition and innovation, and opens up possibilities that may have been previously disregarded.
The most important factor, she said, is to stop judging failure. “Throughout my professional services career, I have offered CEOs and business leaders a safe place to talk about their challenges and decisions without the fear of being judged. It has been the most rewarding part of my work: empowering executives to strategize solutions without feeling shame for any perceived failures of the past, or the fear of any possible ones in the future,” she said.
Alemzadeh-Hancock offers these three tips to overcome fear of failure and confidently navigate change and challenges:
- Take all feedback as a mechanism for growth, not a personal failure. Remaining objective and taking a step back to look at the situation or problem from an outsiders perspective is key.
- Look at what IS working. Rather than bringing all focus to the areas of your business that aren’t going to plan, look at how you can expand the areas that are.
- Turn shame into gratitude. We never stop learning and growing! Reaching a senior position like CEO, doesn’t mean you’ve hit a wall and now have all the answers. Nor does it mean you have to make the right call 100% of the time – this expectation is unrealistic and creates unsustainable levels of pressure and stress. Be grateful for the lessons in your ‘failures,’ and continue to grow.
Alemzadeh-Hancock offers resources, classes, workshops, seminars, products and services to people of all ages, backgrounds, and disabilities through Joy of Business, Global Wellness for All and corporate leadership development training business Belapemo. For more information visit www.globalwellnessforall.com or www.belapemo.com/events.