Speaker Feature: Stephen Friedman

With over 25 years of experience, Stephen Friedman is a skilled behavioural psychologist, leadership expert and speaker, working in the areas of leadership and management skills development, group and team development, organizational learning and human resource management for numerous organizations and individuals. Stephen teaches Organizational Behaviour, Human Resource Management and Leadership and Strategy at Schulich School of Business at York University.

Learn more about Stephen:

Why do you think failure has a bad reputation?

I think failure has a bad reputation because it hits us in our weakest part – the ego. We say we are ok with failure, but for many of us, the need to be correct and get the answer right the first time, matters more. So, because we equate failure with being wrong, we don’t much like it.

What does failure mean to you?

Failure to me means an opportunity to learn. Sometimes that learning is how to improve but other times that learning can and should be pertaining to staying away from that challenge in the future. Yes, it’s ok to fail at stuff and decide it’s not for you. It’s another kind of learning – learning more about the self.

What should we do when we fail?

First off, we should be sure we are in an environment that is ok with it. If not, we are in the wrong job, relationship or whatever. Then, we can decide if we can learn more to improve and from whom. Then, if we fail again, we need to decide if that ‘thing’ is really for us to learn. Or, if the real learning is to walk away and focus on other areas. Despite common cultural discourse, everyone cannot do anything and everything.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time/what are your hobbies?

I love time with family, cycling, cooking, music and learning.

How would your friends describe you in 3 words or less?

Erudite, no B.S., warm.

What is your favourite TED/TEDx talk and why?

I like so many but really learned tons from Susan Cain’s, The power of introverts. Why? Because I am an extrovert and it helped me learn how I may get people wrong.

What is something you can’t live without?

My guitar.

What are you most proud of?

Being an educator to thousands of students at The Schulich School of Business and helping them make good use of their productivity, skills and lives.

What is the role that conversation plays in your life?

Conversation is how I learn, chill and process information. I am a social being.

What is your personal philosophy?

There are many – but right now I am all about “Make things easier for others when they are having a hard time” and “Focus on what you are good at – because you can’t be great at everything – realism”.

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