Embracing Failure to Curb Unhealthy Competition

My conversation with Wharton grad Jonelle Lesniak.

When culture shapes us and we are not aware of the ways it is directing our desires, that’s when it’s dangerous.

Jonelle Lesniak

I host a weekly radio show on SiriusXM 111, Business Radio Powered by Wharton, called Work and Life. We publish edited versions of my conversations as free podcasts. I invite you to listen to the episode (embedded below) that is my conversation with Jonelle Lesniak, a senior analyst at the management consulting firm THRUUE who seeks to create change in organizations culture. She also coaches young professionals by helping them to consider important questions that lead to self-knowledge they can put into action. Jonelle is a graduate of the Wharton School, after which she became a fellow at the Trinity Fellows Academy, where she conducted research on elite college culture. This formative experience ultimately led her to pursue a career in coaching and company culture.

In this conversation, we discuss overly competitive college cultures and Jonelle’s consulting work at THRUUE. Jonelle believes students and professionals must dig deep to find their own definition of success instead of relying on cultural norms. She talks about her own experience in the the highly competitive social milieu of Wharton. Fascinating solutions addressing this problem by normalizing imperfection include the failure certificate, a new program at Smith College, and Jonelle’s own resume of failures. Helping people see failure as a part of success promises to improve the emotional health of high-achievers at any life stage.

Like what you read? Give Stew Friedman a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.