3 Words That Guarantee Failure

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 a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."