Be Willing To Fail Like Steve Jobs

Apple Store
Do you ever get caught up in your own perceptions so much that it stops you from moving forward?

Have you ever worked incredibly hard on a project, when 3/4 of the way through it, you realize you’ve been seeing the problem wrong and there’s a better solution than the one you’ve been working towards, yet you didn’t want to take the loss and start over?

What about the time you made a mistake but instead of owning up to it and moving forward, you pushed it under the rug or directed the attention elsewhere?

We stumble on decisions like these when our focus is intensely on ourselves: “How will I look?”  “What will people think?” “I’ll never recover.”At the same time, we lose perspective on reality–we let the ego take over and stop us from doing amazing things.

Max De Pree wrote that great leaders are able to “define reality.” But removing ego from our own lives can prove challenging. It takes never-ending practice and the full-on embracing of vulnerability….and lots of mistakes and the willingness to make them.

Ron Johnson, Apple’s former Senior VP of Retail Operations, in an interview for the Stanford Business School, recounted an experience with Steve Jobs that exemplifies what it means to truly remove ego to do what is remarkable.

One day, before Apple opened its first store in May 2001, Johnson was riding with Steve Jobs to a weekly planning meeting about the store Johnson was charged with designing. Johnson told his boss, “Steve, I’ve been thinking. I think the store’s organized all wrong. We’ve organized it like a retail store around products, but if Apple’s going to organize around activities like music and movies, well, the store should be organized around music, and movies, and things you do,’” Johnson recalls. “And he looked at me and he said, ‘Do you know how big a change that is? I don’t have time to redesign the store.’ Then 10 minutes later, Jobs walked into the meeting and said, “Well, Ron thinks our store is all wrong. And he’s right, so I’m going to leave now. And Ron, you work with the team and design the store.” 

Most people haven’t had to pull an emergency stop on something as extreme as the launch of the first Apple Store, but it’s an great example of what it means to remove the ego in order to do truly great things. Jobs was able to admit he was wrong, recognize that even though he was set to launch, there was a better way and it would, in the long run, benefit the company to delay the store opening and start all over.

There is tremendous power in the ability to see what’s going on around us, to accept reality and to make changes–to remove ego from the way we work, live and lead.

Laugh When You Can, Apologize When You Should & Let Go Of What You Cannot Change


We spend a lot of time and energy trying to change things that are out of our control. It’s a major cause of frustration, anxiety and self-deflation. We can’t change our pasts, mistakes we’ve made, another person’s thoughts or beliefs (unless they choose to change them), who we are related to, the weather, sexual preferences, what others say and do, and all of the things we don’t acknowledge. Yet it’s natural to want to change these things when they affect us emotionally.

While there are many external things we cannot change, we all have the ability to control how we let those things affect us personally. We can change our own reactions to life.

10 Ways To Remain Positively In Control Of Our Own Lives

1) I focus my energy on what I am able to do and what is in my control.

2) I  learn from my past failures and while I won’t let them control me, I will use those lesson to be better in the future.

3) I never, ever see failure as permanent.

4) I will not hold grudges–they only affect my future, not resolve my past.

5) I  remember that everything that happens is for a reason–and it’s up to me to find the positive and grow.

6) I know that there are many wAys to view the world and I’ll respect that even though I don’t agree with someone, they have a right to their opinions and feelings.

7) I do not let criticism or failure stop me from doing anything.

8) I am a life-long learner and will remain open to changing my mind. I will forever seek new information and ways to see the world.

9) I surround myself with positivity. I will look for solutions and the bright spots in situations.

10) I am too busy thinking of the possibilities of the future to dwell on things in the past.

The control is in our own hands. We can cannot change someone else–what can can change is how we let them affect us, our opinions and judgements of them, and how we react to them.  We cannot change what is in our past–but we can change how much it will control our future, whether or not we will grow, forgive, apologize, let go or move on.

We will always be faced with challenges, change, criticism and adversity. Those things can stop us, hold us back and weigh us down or they can be catalysts for our own growth and remarkability. View the world with as much positivity as possible and do amazing things–on any scale.

Be strong, imperfect, courageous and willing to make mistakes. Don’t just go with the masses because that’s where the masses are going–the best things come from individual thought.

Keep looking forward. Everything counts. Everyone matters. Create the version of the world you want to see.

Great Customer Service Is Inefficient


“We do not have the time, nor would we want to, answer every question that [our customers] have.”

That’s exactly what someone said to me recently when speaking about how to handle a customer request. Sure, customers/clients/patients are often needy. They ask for extras, exceptions, hand-holding and discounts. They want what they want and it rarely follows a “Customer Service Handbook” protocol. Their unpredictable needs make it hard for a business to stay efficient.

Efficiency is something that most companies strive for. How can we deliver a good product while using the least amount of time, manpower and resources as possible so that we can continue to grow?

The problem with this type of thinking is that the focus the bottom line of the company itself. And people don’t care about a company’s bottom line–they care about what that company is going to do to improve their lives. 

There are plenty of options today. I can order shoes from thousands of sites online. I can have a website developed by any number of companies. I can buy my dog’s absurdly expensive organic, HMO-free, grain-free dog food from just about any store that carries dog food.

What keeps me coming back to certain companies and brands is the high-level, positive experience and interactions I have them. Think about the best and worst customer service experiences you’ve had–chances are, you can start to see a pattern in the companies you deem the best and the worst.

Were you able to answer my question quickly while respecting my time or did you keep me on the phone for 30 minutes? Did you go out of your way to do something above and beyond to correct a mistake or did you deny it was your issue and state your policy? Did you acknowledge me on social media when I posted something positive about your brand? Did you treat me like a person or a number? Did you solve my problem?

Standard is everywhere. Today, to be a truly remarkable business, companies have to focus on becoming more than an efficient, well-oiled machine, they have to put extra focus on the customer and the experience they have when interacting with the company. Sometimes, that means answering every question, making yourself available, spending more time and manpower, giving your employees autonomy to solve issues based on incident not protocol or stopping to correct a problem even if the consumers may not even realize it’s a problem in the first place. Sometimes, great customer service means a little bit of inefficiency.

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