No one wants to lose — but if you do, remember that it isn’t the end of the world. Just ask Stacey Abrams.
Less than 6 months after losing her campaign for governor of Georgia in a close race, Abrams is still creating waves and making headlines — most recently, by being selected to give the official Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) address on Feb. 5.
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The selection of Abrams is notable for many reason. Generally speaking, the address is typically given by someone holding public office, and she’s a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives. She’s also the first black woman to offer a major party’s SOTU response.
Abrams, not surprisingly, says she’s up to the task.
“At a moment when our nation needs to hear from leaders who can unite for a common purpose, I am honored to be delivering the Democratic State of the Union response,” Abrams wrote in a Facebook post. “I plan to deliver a vision for prosperity and equality, where everyone in our nation has a voice and where each of those voices is heard.”
Everyone from Oprah Winfrey, who stumped for Abrams on the campaign trail, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called her a visionary and history maker. In Georgia, she was the only black woman ever to secure a major party’s nomination for governor in the United States.
[Related: The Story Exchange Sits Down with Stacey Abrams]
What we like best about Abrams’ continued rise to fame in the political world is that her story is a shining example of how to bounce back from failure.
And there are some familiar, even universal notes to her story. Indeed, numerous women entrepreneurs have often spoken to us about the slips, stumbles and outright face-plants they have weathered on their paths to success and stability.
Female founders have told us about the painful process of closing up shop. For example, entrepreneur Judi Henderson-Townsend of Mannequin Madness talked to us about her short-lived commercial photography agency. “It was the first time I had really put my heart into something, and didn’t do well. So it was not only traumatic on a financial level, but emotionally, too,” she said. But that failure left her open for success later on, atop a thriving mannequin rental business.
Plus, as Abrams can surely attest, there are lessons to be gleaned from losses.
Just look at sisters Andrea and Jana Talavaskova, former owners of bottle distribution company Leverage. They learned that partnering with the wrong people can tank one’s own venture — which is exactly what happened to their company. But today, the sisters are thriving. Andrea runs an eco-friendly fashion retail company, while Jana has cultivated a personal brand as a vegan athlete and author.
So take heart — as Abrams and others have shown us, failure is often only a chapter in a story, not the end of it.
[Related: Donna Karan Talks to The Story Exchange About Failure]