Failure Comes With The Job

Are you trying something new?

Say it with me: “failure comes with the job. ”

Maybe you know that already. Perhaps you spent your career taking risks and capitalizing on other people being risk averse.

Other people haven’t. In fact, they have watched people who take risk get fired, dismissed, or something worse. The moment they look at a potential failure, they remember that. No one wants to end up like Bob, packing up his cubicle, because he decided to ship something that didn’t work.

It’s painful.

Therefore, it is worth reminding people who when they are trying something new and creative that “failure is a part of the job.” If you are leading a team, it’s important to hammer that message home, because the negative self-talk that hinders progress comes quick.

So remind the team around you that: “failure comes with the job.”

In doing that, you’ll remind yourself, too.

Practice Risk Reversal

Take a moment to think about someone else

Our “ask” become much more powerful when we take the time to reverse the risk from the person we ask back to ourselves.

To do this effectively, you have to know the fears of the person you are asking, which requires research and empathy. Those two things, research, and empathy, re missing in most “asks” and have a way of delighting people because they feel like you listened.

Step in the other person shoes for a moment and ask yourself:

  • What makes them scared?
  • What do they want?
  • How do they want to be perceived?

An added benefit to risk reversal is that it forces you to understand what you’re asking the other person. A lazy request makes risk reversal almost impossible, so as a byproduct, your claim gets stronger.

It takes a little more time, but ultimately, worth it.

Lead Hard. Lean In.


Take a few arrows; it’s worth it

I know you do it better.

If there is one thing that both you and I know, it’s that you do it better than they do.

That email you see that person send, or that presentation you send them to give, or that meeting you ask them to lead – all of them would gain if you just took them over.

But your organization loses. Your team morale heads into the toilet. And the ability to scale goes out the window.

You look good, and the work is good, but you can’t stay awake for one more hour, and your team is turning into a bunch of flakes. This workload makes both you and your team miserable. You are burning yourself out, and your team feels useless.

The worst part is that because both sides are irritable, any conversation around the matter is going to come out harsh. That just makes things worse.

It’s best just to avoid that maelström and let your team handle it.

You have to put out a few more fires, but it allows you to see if you have the “right people on the bus. To keep them there, you have to stick up for them. It’s worth it, if you have the right people on the bus, then you can do impressive work.

From there, great things happen. I know it feels odd, but this is an early step into transformative leadership.

It takes a risk to start; you didn’t think it would be easy, did you?

Are you ready?


Volatility is exciting.

Volatility is all the beginner “sees:” the savageness of a fight, the flash of a dance, the motion in the ocean.

“You could triple earnings in the stock market!”

One change that happens when someone leaves the amateur ranks is that they finish that sentence above.

“I could triple your earnings in the stock market, and you can lose three times your earnings, too.”

Volatility becomes a risk*. Once there, one can choose a better strategy on how to deal with it.

Understanding risk and volatility is the difference between being wowed by the fireworks display to understanding how the act is done.

*I prefer to engage in it to help shape my processes.


Small Risk,Please

If you do work without a bit of edge, it’s a form of hiding.

It doesn’t need to overshare (also hiding), but in the same vein, doing anything that doesn’t take a little chance, a little risk or a little piece of yourself is hollow.

How do you know if there is risk involved?

When you press publish, schedule, or upload, is there a little apprehension*? We’re not talking about a life-changing amount of fear, just enough for you to feel something.

If so, ship it.

*I feel it with this post – I’m little scared it’s too small, too ephemeral, too commanding, and I am going to let it go.



The Under Current of Change and Trouble Ahead – October’s Leaving With Risk

At first change used to bother me.

Heading down the planned route was the only way. If I made the choice to go down that path, it meant something to me( I never planned anything when I was younger, so when it happened it was an event). When things didn’t go my way, it represented failure, and I would avoid planning to not get hurt again as well as sulk, as if making things bad for other people would make it better for me.

Luckily, in the last year that changed, and I embrace the weird.

This month didn’t go to plan at all.

What started out as a month that slated to deal with creative risk, went to risk in my physical life and abstinence. It was my version of Lent.

I learned a lot, and got to face some serious obstacles that changed my thinking on how I worked, lived, and communicated with the people around me.

The lessons I got from this month are important to me because I feel like they add to everything that I do. They underwrite my perspective, and as you see the world, is as it is.

So, what did I learn?



  • Abstinence– Each week, I removed something to experiment. I ended up with the following – my wallet, my phone, and bad eating habits gone. No more late night runs to Taco Bell, no more frivolous purchases, and no more running with my phone. I had to completely remove these things, because when I let even a bit creep back into my life, it was over.
    • Lesson: I don’t do well with piecemeal. When I cut things, I need to do it cold turkey, or else I risk falling back on it. Fear will talk me back into bad habits because they are “normal”.
  • Newsletter (New Things) –  My newsletter went out. My hits are up. People enjoy it, and I get to learn a new skill each week.
    • Lesson: Just do it.  Ship, and see the results. Experimentation is fine, no one is going to get you for shipping. If the world doesn’t like it, they will reject and look for the next thing you do all the same.
  • Volunteering–Gives some purpose. Connects me to something bigger than myself. Allows me to try new things and network with people I won’t run into. More perspective is never a bad thing.
    • Lesson: Look to help – constantly. The biggest perk is improving your skills and demeanor. 
  • Creative  – I let destructive self talk goad me into not connecting with some projects.
    • Lesson: When you miss out on connection, deal with curiosity.
  • Missing Connections–I missed out on coffee or drinks with a bunch of friends, associates, and family because I didn’t plan correctly.
    • Lesson: Understand my calendar more, and connect – don’t make promises without doing pre-work first. 
  • Failure – I don’t handle it well when I don’t plan for it. This is hard to swallow, but I’ve recognized it. Now it’s time to work
    • Lesson: Emotional Intelligence is critical when things are bad. You only win through controlling your emotions, only then can you see the real lesson.

Important Posts



  • Make My Bed – Always come back to this as something that makes me feel better even when I don’t think it does
  • No Cell Phone – During the day, 4 – 5 times a week, I won’t have my phone going forward
  • No Wallet – Same as above, no wallet most days of the week

Closing The Loop

  • Keeping a Copy – Using my white board to hold information has worked well this month. Keeps me honest.

Emotional Intelligence

  • Fighting The Voices –More on this next month 🙂
  • Meditation –  Need to bring this one back


  • Barbershop Books – Newsletter next!
  • Harlem Tech – Volunteering for meetup now.


  • Slowly GTD – Still need to work on this. Very scary, acknowledging the fear should help.


Launch Day – Newsletter

It launched.

The newsletter went out today to a small collection of email addresses.

It takes all of me to not pour out on all the numbers, and try to optimize right away. It’s hard to avoid panic because I am putting something out into the world, and no one asked for it.

But, isn’t that the fun part of it all.

Launch day is a success.