You're a failure.

Those words are hard to read, aren't they?  A challenge of leadership is that it requires failing.  How comfortable are you with failing?  How do you react when people you lead fail?  Can you watch someone else fail and feel okay with it? [youtube KPqOQnpragc]

When it comes to leading, especially when you are trying to do something new, failing is essential.  That's right, I said it's essential.  Failure is a sure sign that you are working towards something, towards change.  "Where there's smoke, there's fire," ever heard that saying?

Let's use some imagery. I love my chimney starter for my charcoal barbecue grill.  If I want a glowing, white-hot fire I drop the charcoal into the tube, light some newspaper on fire underneath the tube, and twenty minutes later I have a tube full of coals on fire.

We want our ideas, events, and people to become white-hot and make huge differences.  Our failures create smoke as we work to create something new, and even though what we want is fire, smoke means that there's still heat present. Heat only ceases to exist when we stop trying altogether (yes, this means when we stop failing, too).  As long as you keep at it, something or someone else is going to catch on to what you are trying to do...and then another...and another.  If you keep these people close, adding others along the way, you will have a community that's white-hot with your idea or vision.  Is the risk of failing publicly keeping you from creating?  If your answer is yes, then you will never create anything with enough heat to catch fire and spread.