By Dennis McIntee

The best leaders are those that realize failure isn’t an option.  

I’ve got your attention, don’t I? On first read, it sounds unrealistic, but let me explain. The best leaders are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously, and they give their teams permission to do the same. They don’t fear trying out new things because they understand that life is a cycle of research and development.

They see that when you do anything there are two possible outcomes, and failure isn’t one of them. Instead, they can either win or they can learn. In life and in leadership, we never truly fail if we are committed to learning and growing from our mistakes. With this mindset, every step can be a step forward.

It’s key to remember that what brought you to where you are won’t get you to where you want to go. As a result, it is our responsibility to always seek out opportunities to learn and get better and create spaces where our teams feel safe to do the same.


When we understand that when we get better our teams will get better, we will embrace self-leadership. When we start intentionally leading ourselves, things really start to change. The reality is, we teach what we know but we produce who we are. That’s why it’s so important that as leaders we learn from our mistakes instead of beating ourselves up over them. When we are too hard on ourselves and too focused on the past to move forward, we translate that same treatment to our teams. We are too hard on them and instead of helping them to grow and get better, we teach them to think in that same broken pattern.

When you lead yourself well, you’re able to manage your emotions. This is very important because when you’re emotional, you can’t think rationally or see clearly. You also can’t effectively communicate with your team. Emotional leaders create confused teams and exacerbate drama. Nobody wants that. There’s so much power in realizing that you and I are ridiculously in charge of ourselves.

The sooner you realize that you are in charge of you, the sooner your self-leadership will go to the next level. Taking extreme responsibility for yourself is a massive piece of mastering self-leadership. Whatever you make excuses for, you can’t change. You can only change what you decide to own, and that’s where your power is.

Each of us have opportunities to grow in our self-leadership both personally and professionally. There’s always room for us to get better and there’s so much growth potential when we take extreme ownership of ourselves and realize that failure isn’t an option.

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