Daphne Tideman talks failure, finding perspective, and discovering her voice
The former growth lead at Heights shares her biggest failures and the learnings that fueled her comeback story.
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Daphne Tideman didn't expect to spend her afternoon crying in the bathroom.
But when her founders said they were disappointed, after she presented her growth strategy (the one she’d labored over for countless hours), it just happened.
Daphne’s story (and the emotion of her retelling) really resonated with me. My quarterly growth strategy once got comments like, ‘not aggressive enough,’ ‘hard to follow,’ and ‘not aligned with core priorities.’ Hearing those comments in front of a room of 40 people, that included my peers and my team, triggered an anxiety attack.
So I can understand why the feeling of missing the mark hit her so hard. Like most of us who work in tech, her job was a big part of her identity. (We’ve all been there — working late hours, wearing the company hoodie, feeling like we're part of something bigger than ourselves.) No wonder the criticism felt like a personal attack.
On top of that — as the growth lead, and unintentional “Jill of all Trades” — Daphne routinely took on way more than her share of responsibility for any failures. She forgot that there were a lot of things outside of her immediate control (economics, market conditions, competitor changes, etc.) that impacted her success. She also forgot that growth is a team sport, and she’s just one player on the team.
Instead, she just put all the blame on herself.
It took a while for Daphne (former growth lead at RockBoost, Heights, and now an independent advisor helping D2C companies) to gain the skills and perspective needed to understand what happened and protect herself from future spirals.
In our conversation, Daphne shared why working on your own self esteem and taking non-work passions and goals seriously made a huge difference in her confidence and helped her build a more stable, well-balanced professional life. (For Daphne, this included therapy, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and running the London Marathon. But you don’t have to go that far.)
We also cover the importance of learning to speak your executive’s language (something that might have averted the crash-and-burn on that presentation), the power of what she calls joint goals, and why it’s not a crime to be in your comfort zone (even when your working in growth).
Things to listen for:
[4:29] The crossroads that led Daphne to the Growth industry
[14:18] Being the only woman in a meeting
[17:35] Remembering work isn’t your whole life
[20:42] The power of joint goals
[21:54] How to get your ideas heard
[32:56] Focusing on things in your control
[35:28] Being in your comfort zone is OK
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