Fail Your Own Way

As leaders we are often bombarded with advice, do it this way, do it that way, take more risk, take less risk.

Which is great, but we need to follow our own path, our own gut instinct.

This doesn’t mean we should ignore the advice, good advice is always welcome and we should always consider it, but if we are certain about our paths, our goals then we should stick to it. I always find the passion I have about achieving a goal is stronger when it’s my idea, or if I am excited about the goal.

Good advice which shows me how were can achieve the goal, or how we can exceed it, only looks to increase my excitement and my passion, whereas when things reduce the goal or diminish it, these tend to have a negative effect and as leaders we have to communicate that passion to our teams.

I remember at one company where I was working we had a goal to save $15m per year, but when I looked at the numbers, and based on my experience at other companies, it was clear to me that it was possible for us to save closer to $50m.

It was going to be tough, it would be a stretch, but it was definitely doable.

When I shared the new goal with the team they were concerned, they didn’t know what I knew, they hadn’t taken on similar challenges, all they could see was I had increased the goal from $15m to $50 and they thought that was too big a leap.

The advice I got at this point was, ok why not shoot for $30m that’s double the current target, that would be a great goal, and if I thought we could achieve $50m then $30 would be guaranteed.

I didn’t want to do that though, it didn’t excite me, because I knew $50m was achievable; that it would also have a profound impact on the organisation and would go a long way to changing the culture.  And that truly excited me.

When I discussed it with my mentor, she said, that good leaders create their own paths and don’t need to go down the popular route, the well worn route. I knew how we could achieve this, so it wasn’t the big risk that everyone else saw. She said I should stick to my guns, and look to show my leadership team how we could achieve it and go for it.

After a bit of soul searching, because this was a new company for me and I wanted to make an impact, I decided that I would stick to the original goal and go for $50m saving.

I believed we could do it, and if we failed, it would still be a significant improvement on the goal of $15m,

Personally, like many people I don’t like failure, but if I am going to fail I want it be pursuing my own dreams and not someone else’s version or interpretation.

We also tend to work harder when it’s our own dream, when we have more skin in the game, and hard work and determination are the keys to most successes.

If you want to know more about being a better leader, a FAST Leader, then contact me at



Inc Magazine Top 100 Great Leadership Speakers