My daughter just lost her first baby tooth. She was so proud of it, the teacher had to announce to the class that she had a wiggly tooth, and last night the Tooth Fairy had to go to work. Made me think about the pain life inflicts on us and the scars we have to show for.

I have a lot of scars. Surgeries, numerous bike crashes, soccer injuries – you name it. Scars are like social objects: They tell stories and one can spend a whole evening with friends discussing each and ever scar, reminding us of the places we’ve been, the people we shared some time with, the life we lived. Scars also show resilience. They remind us that little things like a broken bone or an infected appendix are not the end of the world. They are just an inconvenience while pushing forward.

Companies have scars. They were close to bankruptcy, partnerships didn’t work out, lawsuits had to be settled, people had to be let go. But the majority of companies hide their scars. They rather show us a glossy marketing world where all employees are smiling, everybody is just happy to be there and there was never a dark day in paradise.

Don’t hide your scars. Don’t cover them up and gloss over them. Look at all the failures and bad times your company endured. Find a common thread: Why do you have these scars and are still alive and kicking. Company culture? Leadership? Inspiring vision? And share these stories with everybody. People get inspired by stories of companies that got back up again and again because they know how to get stronger and better over time.

One man scorned and covered with scars still strove with his last ounce of courage to reach the unreachable stars; and the world will be better for this. – Miguel de Cervantes

Don’t be ashamed of your scars. Display them with pride.