The Leadership Challenge: Acceptance – 3 Tips!

The Point: No matter how much you’ve tried for a successful outcome (Diagnosed the problem from multiple perspectives, researched potential solutions, spent thousands of dollars, etc.), sometimes you simply have to accept that failure is an option. In this post, we’ll explore the leadership challenge of acceptance and provide 3 tips to help you draw closure… Enjoy!

The Leadership Challenge: Acceptance: 3 Tips!

Welcome to Reality Distortion!

In the “romance” stage of business, everything seems to come up smelling like a rose. For example, as a leader have you ever come up with a plan that you thought was “air tight” in design? Moments of failure after launch were most likely discounted/minimalized. Conversely, moments of success as only you can see them through your focal pattern were romanticized, blown-up to successfully epic proportions, and a comfortable glide pattern presented itself (Hence the “Walking on Cloud 9” analogy is appropriate).

The truth of the matter is that your leadership mind is playing a game on you. Unable to see reality for what it actually is, leads you to a state of reality distortion where the truth is “bent” in favor of what you want to see. Now you may really, really, really want to see things for the way that you want them and not as the way they really are. However, in the end, a slap of reality will occur snapping you out of distortion!

Just Get It Over With

I have worked with a leader for the last several years that is extremely bright, driven to achieve, and successful in their professional life (Not that there hasn’t been struggles professionally, but they’ve weathered many a storm!) This leader’s only downfall is that they continue to put themselves out of position on the personal playing field in the here and now. Their orientation is to simply be down the road where the future lies, leaving them to desire just get the current state over.

This “Just get it over with” mentality rings especially true when they encounter failure in the personal/private moment. Regardless of how much time, effort, or energy was applied to a given situation, their desire is to simply move on… But to where? (I’m not concerned of the “With Who?” as they are content being solo/alone in decision making).

Moving On

As a leader you are challenged to do your best, and depending on the situation at hand your best may not be good enough. So how do you fold tent after failure and simply move on? The following represent three leadership challenge tips for acceptance:

Tip #3 – Take Ownership

To simply “bounce” from project to project, initiative to initiative, and/or place to place might seem like a rather flipped acceptance response. While your visceral reaction might be to pull the sheets up over your head and never leave the bedroom, reality dictates that you take ownership and positively accept the situation for what it was. Whether you like it or not, you must take responsibility for where you’ve been and what you’ve done. Some albatrosses are larger than others to have around your neck, but start with recognizing that you, and you alone are responsible for your own actions (and quite frankly they are the only actions you are in control of!)

Tip #2 – Set a New Course

Upon positive acceptance of the situation at hand, set a strategic plan that identifies where you want to go. There are a host of visualization exercises that you can conduct to help you identify the where’s, who’s, why’s, and how’s that should be considered. Remember, the course you strategically plan for tomorrow might change due to situations outside of your control (But at least you’ll develop them for yourself!)

Tip #1 – Install/Sustain

Lastly, put your plan into action. Include a series of metrics to measure/monitor your successes as well as failures. Important to (1) recalibrate as appropriate and (2) lose your reality distortion goggles!


In this post we’ve examined the leadership challenge of acceptance, as well as providing 3 tips to help you as a leader be more successful. If life is a game worth playing, I know two things are certain: (1) Tough times don’t last, but tough people do and (2) Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.


Sam Palazzolo