3 Words That Guarantee Failure

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Posted March 29, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Is it possible to, without a doubt, predict failure? Can you know, prior to even beginning a task that you will fail at it? Inc. writer and the creator of “Sales Source” Geoffrey James says yes. In his article from Inc. “3 Words That Guarantee Failure”, he claims just three words will ensure your failure even before you begin a task. What are those three words?

“I will try.”

It doesn’t matter the circumstance. If your boss asks, “Will this be done by Friday?” what do you really mean when you say, “I will try.” When your Mom says, “Will you be home for Thanksgiving this year?” what do you really mean when you say, “I will try.” Though we may not realize it or intentionally strive for failure, saying we’ll try is a far cry from saying we’ll do something.

Geoffrey James, in his article, hearkens back to the oft used, never attributed phrase, “Do or do not, there is no try.” Annoying as it may be when someone throws this phrase out at us, it’s as true as it ever was. You can do the work or you can avoid the work. Trying to do the work is just some form of the latter.

Think about all the things you said you’d “try” to do this week – are you doing them? Or are you resting on the easy failure of these three words “I will try”? This isn’t to say you must commit to everything someone asks you to do. But what we can change immediately is our response. If you boss says, “Will this be done by Friday?” rather than using these three failure words, perhaps say, “I’ve blocked out some time to work on that on Thursday afternoon. But because of the project I’m working on Wednesday and Thursday morning, I know it may end up being bumped from my calendar. I’ll keep you up-to-date and set a more realistic deadline later this week.” It might not work, but at least it’s honest.


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is the author of "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works" and a career expert who believes in order to be empowered in your career, you must be surrounded with resources and a network that both supports and challenges you. Marcy began her own networking journey as a professional fundraiser in the nonprofit industry, honed those skills as a fundraising consultant, and in 2012 networked her way to nearly 1 million readers as the CEO of the professional development website Career Girl Network.

10 Comments


  1.  
    Becca

    I’m pledging to stop trying and start doing…. or at least say no more!




  2.  

    Is it wrong that I attribute “Do or do not; there is no try” to Yoda? That’s the only place I know it from…




  3.  
    Valerie

    Thanks Marcy! This is a good lesson learned. And very true. More doing less trying!




  4.  
    Katy

    Yes Marcy, I think you definitely need to watch The Empire Strikes Back. Yoda is a wise creature. Also, Princess Leia rocks in that one.




  5.  

    Now I must have Star Wars on the brain, because this article popped up for me on LInkedIn today: Five Career Lessons from Han Solo : http://www.forbes.com/sites/matthewherper/2012/03/29/five-career-lessons-from-han-solo/

    LOL!




  6.  

    Uh, yeah! That was Yoda. And he said it way cooler.




  7.  
    Beth Ruske

    Love this Marcy! I like to say TRY is a 3 letter word for Fail. Don’t try – commit! And if you can’t commit, then don’t even try! I’ve found it isn’t the effort as much as the intention and commitment that brings your success.

    It may sound strange, but I’d rather get a “no, I won’t be able to do that” than a “I’ll try!”.




  8.  

    You are right on…I will try is such a non commitment word. When a friend told me “I will try” months ago; I told her “You might as well just say no.”





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