Thoughts on Leadership: Why You Shouldn’t Just Try

By Gino Blefari

This week, Inc. Magazine asked me to name one jargon term I thought should be eliminated from business-speak. My pick? “Try.”

Let me explain: “Try” is the absolute archenemy to accomplishment, a word loathed by leaders around the world … and beyond. (Even Jedi Master Yoda famously said, “Do or do not. There is no try.”)

Too often “try” is used as an excuse for failure, a simple—and often accepted—justification for why something just couldn’t get done. (“Well, at least I tried, right?”) However, those who seek true greatness understand the fault in this philosophy because it underscores a lack of passion that will continually block success. John Assaraf, New York Times bestselling author of Having It All: Achieving Your Life’s Goals and Dreams, once said, “When you are interested, you do what’s convenient. When you are committed, you do whatever it takes.” Assaraf’s explanation gets to the core of why “try” is such a despicable term. Those who are passionate about realizing a dream will never settle for simply “trying” to make it happen; they won’t stop until they’ve reached their goal.

Here’s another example: One of the best books I’ve read on finance is Money: Master the Game by Tony Robbins, who also has an interesting take on “try.” A few years ago, Robbins held a marriage seminar during which a wife, struggling in her relationship, complained that she had “tried everything” and was ready to give up. Tony responded to her statement by asking her to “try” to pick up the chair she was sitting on. Confused, the woman easily picked it up. Tony shook his head. “No, I said try to pick it up. You actually did it.”

So, what’s the message? The word “try” is easy to say and easier to blame as the reason for failure when more times than not, it’s the one thing standing in the way of success. So don’t be a “try” kind of leader. Be a leader of conviction, commitment and whole-heartedness who sees goals not as things to be “tried” but as absolutes that will simply get done. Once you eliminate “try” from your vocabulary, you’ll be amazed at how much you can really achieve.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on Facebook and Twitter.

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