Everyone has battle wounds in business: it’s an occupational hazard. Scars you get from failures, setbacks, and all those times you stepped up to the plate only to strike out. Yet, ironically, we cover them up and tuck them away. We learn how to “act” the part of a flawless leader.

Guess what? Being a transparent, vulnerable leader EMPOWERS others.

Great leaders know that part of the job is shining a light on the strengths in others and enabling them to become leaders themselves.

Those battle wounds are evidence that you’ve been out there blazing a trail. Hiding the ways in which we’ve been scarred is only creating an illusion for other’s; making them believe that failure, pain, and wounds don’t happen along the way.

Every scar has a story. Share them proudly.


I was about ten years old and I was carving on a stick with a big hunting knife. Hey, times were different then, no big deal. We carried those things to school and nobody paid attention, now it’d be national news.

I’m trying to split this stick down the middle and I had the brilliant idea that I needed to swing that knife hard to drive it deep into the wood. Of course, I was holding the stick. The blade bounced off the edge of the stick as I swung and I laid open my index finger down to the bone.

Well…I knew I was in trouble. I was more afraid of being in trouble than the blood that was running down my arm. I managed to keep anyone from finding out for two days. Of course, by then, it was too late to stitch it and I still got in trouble!

I’ve got a scar. Everyone’s got at least one, right? And every scar has a story. Usually a dumb story…you know what I’m talking about. Sometimes those dumb stories stick with us for a lifetime, like war wounds.

Something happened and whether or not others can SEE the scar, it’s there. Sometimes we limp the rest of our lives; maybe that limp is our self-esteem, or our self-worth. We try to hide it, even overcompensate for it. We try to forget. We think we’re managing ok until we’re reminded of that dumb story all over again.

I have scars. Everyone on your team has scars. They aren’t going away! They will always remind you of the story they represent. Sometimes it doesn’t seem possible to move beyond them. My scars seem to have a life of their own. People want to hear the story of how I got them, as strange as that sounds. I tell the story, but believe me it’s not flattering. I wish it were a different story. But, I tell it because it reminds me that through my weakness, my stupidity, my failure. God’s power is made perfect.

I hate my weakness. I hate my failure. It forces me to face my vulnerability and fear. But, in the moments I share it, my story becomes a story about all of us, not just me. It becomes a story of how our brokenness can bring opportunity to become who we were created to be.

Scars are painful and so are their stories. It’s painful every day to own our scars. But imagine what could happen if together we embrace our weakness, our past and our failures so God can bless us with Breakthrough.

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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