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Eliminate This Word From Your Vocabulary

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Sep 17, 2015

Have you ever invited someone to your home, an event, or a party and had them respond with, “I’ll try to get there?

If you quantified the outcome from that statement I’m willing to bet you’d find that it’s close to 100% of the respondents fail to show. 

I’ve lost track of where I’ve heard this quote, and I couldn’t locate it in a Google search, Try sets us up for failure.”

If you’re familiar with Star Wars the scene depicted here provides Yoda’s wisdom to “try.” 

Recently I had someone who responded to an email I’d sent, indicating they’d tried to contact me.  In the email they indicated when they had tried.  Since this was someone I would have wanted to speak to I reviewed my recent calls and sure enough there was a caller id from this person.  The call had been made when I was on my phone in an appointment.  Curiously this person didn’t leave a message on my voice mail.  Apparently this person believes trying is enough.

In the real world trying is not enough.  I’ve been fired twice and in both cases I can tell you I was trying.   In the real world, especially in sales, you get paid for results not for effort, or simply trying.  In one case, at a plumbing company (a job I was ill suited for), I had success for a short time.  Eventually the determination in my trying diminished simply because it didn’t align with my strengths and purpose.   In another situation I was the general manager of a radio station and while we made great strides increasing revenue the competitive nature of the market and the hole that the station had dug required too many resources to achieve the success required.

Many of you may be familiar with Michael Jordan’s quote, “I can accept failure, but I can’t accept not trying.”

There’s no disagreement with me that trying can be valuable, but only if it provides an anticipated or expected outcome.

2ce8d574be16e6888df029c5a4431847No one would care or remember Michael Jordan and this quote if he’d not been as successful as he was.  Michael Jordan made a career out of trying and succeeding more times than not.

My message today is brief.  Eliminate the word “try” from your vocabulary.  Follow Yoda’s wisdom and make it a point to do or do not.  Remember the last time you invited someone to your home or an event you hoped they would attend with you.  The sting of “I’ll try to be there,” leaves a very unsettling feeling if you felt it was important and hoped they would attend.  It may have even changed your mind about your relationship with this person.  

Can you think of things you tried to do and failed? 

How about things you tried to do and succeeded?

If you examine the successes from the failures I’m willing to bet that your tries in your successes were backed with more persistence, commitment, and determination than any of your failures. 

Trying isn’t the answer.  The degree of your desire, responsibility, engagement, courage, dedication, and conviction yield a successful outcome.  In many cases what you tried didn’t work, so you tried something else.  If you’re focus is simply on trying, you will rarely succeed.  Your focus needs to be on the outcome you desire. 

My advice don’t quit trying, just eliminate it from your vocabulary.  As Henry Ford stated, "Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."  

Keep your eye on the outcome you desire and you will effectively eradicate TRY from your lexicon.  

One word that can create difficulties in a business is honesty.  Ed Catmull, co-author of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration offers some insights into honesty versus candor and an idea that mimics closely Gazelles Collective Intelligence. We’ll explore this next blog.

If you’re interested in learning how to Scale Up your business download our Scaling Up Workshop flyer or register to attend the Scaling Up Workshop in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday, November 11th.  Guaranteed to help you meet and exceed your business expectations for 2016

Topics: People Decisions

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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