Leadership Excellence Isn't Achieved Without Failure

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." - Robert F. Kennedy

No matter where you are in your year, I would like you to think about where are you now from where you were six months ago? What were your New Year's Resolutions this year, if any? More and more I hear people say they don't make New Year's Resolutions. The main reason they give for not making resolutions is that they don't believe they will be true to their word in working toward their leadership goals. Well, if that doesn't say it all! Naturally, if one believes they won't succeed, then they won't. It also says a lot to what one is committed to doing, being and having.

I believe that what gets misconstrued in making a resolution is an unrealistic expectation that success is linear in accomplishing what you are aiming to achieve. That's a myth and totally unrealistic! How can you reach new levels of success without failing? If you already knew how to do it, you would be doing it!

Making a resolution and being committed to it doesn't mean you won't fail. Inherent in moving toward a bigger dream is failure. The question is how committed are you to your resolution of developing your leadership skills, having a better job, working toward a promotion, becoming an entrepreneur, taking better care of your health and having more love?

For example, we all know one of the "biggies" for New Year Resolution's is getting into a healthy shape and size. I must confess that I am one of those that doesn't do the weight loss and exercise resolution. Throughout the year I intermittently exercise and make food exchanges to something healthier. I bet there isn't a day that doesn't go by when I "sort of" resolve to exercise and eat healthier. The story I tell myself is by such and such a date I will be so many lbs less and that I will exercise five times a week. I have taken off six lbs, and it has taken me six months to do that. I believe in the process of the journey, but that is really taking the snail's pace. This week I did exercise five times and it feels good. Will I follow through next week? Maybe, maybe not! The bottom line of "sort of" resolution is it has no commitment. It has no legs to stand on.

Now compare that "sort of" resolution with one I did make the beginning of this year. I made a commitment to "play a bigger game" in growing my coaching business, which I love. One of the staples in winning the leadership game is to have a coach. For the last ten years I rarely have been without a coach. My coaches have seen me through the good and the bad times. They have all helped me express my own leadership potential - something I could have done on my own, for sure - and did that far faster than I could have imagined. I know that when life is throwing a curve, one can either sit in the manure or recognize the fertilizer there to grow something new. I may stew for awhile and that is okay, but then I choose to use the fertilizer to transform my actions and who I am being toward new possibilities. Coaching is the fertilizer to growing exponentially.

The disparity in the potency of achieving the intentions between my "sort of" body care resolution and the one to "play a bigger game" is wide. One is more wishful and the other has definite and palpable purpose to succeed with passion to enjoy the journey with its twists and turns. Note the differences:

Food & Exercise (FE) "Sort Of" Commitment versus Playing a Bigger Game & Win (BG) "Deliberate" Commitment:

FE: Commitment is weak.

BG: Stronger resolve.

FE: Eat with little regard of consequences.

BG: Choose one activity over another to keep me on track, even when another track is oh so tempting.

FE: Emotional eater when I get anxious or stressed.

BG: Check to see what the next inspired actions toward goal when overwhelmed.

FE: I make excuses.

BG: Resistance is futile! Is the discomfort I am feeling coming from a "should" or is it a "challenge?" Choose and take appropriate action.

FE: Use food as a gift because "I deserve" it. I worked so hard, etc.

BG: Choose inspired action in winning at my bigger game. I deserve to win.

FE: Eat unconsciously. Not noticing what I am eating and thinking about something else.

BG: Improved self-management focusing on clients and business development.

FE: Allowing old habits to be in the driver's seat.

BG: Create new effective paradigms to succeed.

FE: Ignore what my body is telling me.

BG: Listen to Higher Power guiding me and trusting intuition.

My business is growing and so am I. Do I get knocked down? Oh yes. When I do I may lie there sulking and even feel like giving up. But I look at the vision of giving up and my vision of what's possible. I get up and choose my commitment to be a bigger player. My game isn't over yet. After all - Anything is Possible!

Questions have the answers

1. How much time is left in this year? What do you want to celebrate doing, having and being on your New Years resolutions?

2. What kind of career would you like to have by the first of next year?

3. If you are thinking exploring your leadership potential, what do you have to do right now?

4. Is your intention coming from wishful thinking or commitment?

5. Where have you been successful in the past and made it through the failures? Use those strengths to guide you in your next direction and to call forth your leadership skills.


* When you are passionate in "playing a bigger game" it is empowering. Should's are like pushing a boulder up your mountain. The energy from your passion will synchronize with unseen forces to bring opportunities your way.

* When you feel resistance toward your goal, check it out to see whether it is coming from false beliefs or intuition guiding you.

* Listen to your intuition. Most of us second guess and even try negotiating with our intuition. How does that work?

* Develop a stronger knowingness of who you are and be determined to live on purpose.

I would wager to say that we have all fallen into despair. Remember it isn't how many times you fall, it how you get up. You are the champion of your game.


Theresa-Maria (“TM”) Napa – of Right Track Coaching - is dedicated to helping professionals and executives increase their winning percentage while taking fewer steps and producing better results. Her career has included positions as executive assistant, vice president of operations, director of marketing & administration, and business owner with substantial experience in leadership, marketing, client development, and execut...

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