Scar Tissue That I Wish You Saw

Scar Tissue – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Californication

There’s a front page story in the NY Times today on Hillary Clinton. It talks about how she’s endured a lot of  difficulty over the years and how’s that’s made her come across as tough and lacking empathy. Here’s the part that got my attention.

After a political lifetime of public battles, suspicions and
humiliations, she must prove she is not too hardened to inspire, or too
wary to truly lead.

The scar tissue she has accumulated over the
years is central to Mrs. Clinton’s political identity. She catalogs her
wounds with an air of pride and defiance. Invoking a mantra attributed
to Eleanor Roosevelt, Mrs. Clinton likes to say that women in politics “need to develop skin as tough as a rhinoceros hide.”

“I joke that I have the scars to show from my experiences,” she said in an interview.

“But
you know, our scars are part of us, and they are a reminder of the
experiences we’ve gone through, and our history. I am constantly making
sure that the rhinoceros skin still breathes. And that’s a challenge
that all of us face. But again, not all of us have to live it out in
public.”

I am inclined to vote for Hillary even though I don’t consider myself a fan of hers. Part of my reluctant support for her candidacy is that I’d like to see a woman in the white house. It’s time for this country to recognize that woman can lead as well as men. The UK and Israel have had strong women lead their countries and we should be open to that here in the US. But it has to be the right woman. Of course, it’s also time for a minority american to be president. More on that in a minute.

And so the other part of my reluctant support of Hillary is this scar tissue thing. I really respect people who’ve taken their lumps and risen beyond them. I look for that in people in business all the time. I’d much rather have a partner who has taken some losses and learned from them than a partner who hasn’t failed yet. Failure is an asset in my mind if you’ve learned from it.

The big challenge, as Hillary states in her comments above, is how to wear that scar tissue the right way. I took some big hits in the implosion of the first bubble and I wear those scars front and center in my brain. When I see something going on that reminds me of those experiences, the tendency is to run the other way. How do we remain open to things that have not worked for us in the past? It’s hard. And I won’t be doing any $10mm seed investments in a business plan any time soon. Nor should anyone.

But given the choice between a president who has fallen, gotten up, fallen again, gotten up again, and someone who has not fallen yet, it’s an easy call for me. I’ll take the one who has failed and come back from failure. Maybe it’s because I’ve been through that too. And I feel more secure with some scar tissue in the White House. Even if we wished we could see a bit more of it than she’s willing to show.

UPDATE: Joe Laz has another similar take on scar tissue on his tumblog this morning.