411 | Q1-Pause and Reflect: Vulnerable Learnings From Our Failures

We’re ending this first quarter of 2021 on a positive note with our Q1-Pause and Reflect: Vulnerable Learnings From Our Failures episode.

“Vulnerable Learnings From Our Failures”

We’re talking about failure. I can hear you now… “Chris, what’s so positive about failure?!” Here’s the deal, failure is a positive thing for those who learn from their mistakes and choose to improve

Learning from other people’s failures is a best-case scenario: a real win-win-win!

On this week’s episode, the coaches of the Poimen Group come together for a once-a-quarter discussion. This time around, they reflect on their own failures, mistakes and misfires of the first three months of this year.

Today, you’ll discover the process of how Chris, Heather and Joel use failure to grow themselves, their teams, and their families!


failure, leaders, fail, business, workbook, talking, learn, person, joel, team, opportunity, people, decisions, life, process, coach, situation, josiah, grow, elise


Joel Fortner, Heather LoCurto, Chris LoCurto


Chris LoCurto  00:00

On today's show the coaches-or well most of the coaches-come together for a once a quarter discussion on, 1) Your leadership, 2) Your business, 3) Your life and your health as well. All of that is coming up right after this.


Chris LoCurto  00:24

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show folks, we hope you're having a fabulous day wherever you are as we are wrapping up the first quarter of 2021 on a positive note, and how are we going to do that? Well I say "we" because welcome back into the studio two of our fantastic coaches here, Joel Fortner.


Joel Fortner  00:56

 Hello hello hello.


Chris LoCurto  00:58

 Heather LoCurto.


Heather LoCurto  00:59

 Well hi.


Chris LoCurto  01:03

And we are going to be talking about failure. Yay.


Joel Fortner  01:08

What a great positive note.


Joel Fortner  01:12

So why are we doing this? We are pausing and reflecting on a series that we've done, The Leadership Success Path, which was number 402. The willpower episodes, you know because of constantly failing with our willpower, that was 405, 408. The KRA Pain Points, where we learned that what would it cost to not have not only KRA's but great accountability. That was 406. And then the Mike Hyatt interview talking about their business being built on failure learnings that was 407. So we are pausing and reflecting on these things, and looking through our own failures. So while you might not think that that's a positive thing, we actually do. We look at it as a positive thing around here all the time. What's so positive about failure? Well here's the deal; failure is a positive thing for those who learn from their mistakes and improve themselves. Now, if you're looking at failure as the thing that's going to tank your worth, you're right. You're probably not gonna like this episode, right? "I just can't stand failure." Well you probably wouldn't be listening to this show if that was you. You're listening to this show because you want to grow. Where failure is concerned if we're not learning then guess what? We're losing opportunity. All of us. Let me say it again, all of us fail, we all make mistakes, but you're only a failure if you choose to be. So if you choose to not learn from the process, then guess what? You are failing. So the key is to make sure that you're always learning from your failures, and here's the great thing, you can even learn from other people's failures. Like ours, so we're gonna be talking about failures today, we're going to be sharing some mistakes that we've made, and how we've learned from those things, we're going to be talking about some failures that we've had, our own. And so yeah. I wonder who's gonna have the biggest failure in here.


Joel Fortner  03:16

Oh it's definitely going to be...


Chris LoCurto  03:18



Joel Fortner  03:19

Oh for sure.


Chris LoCurto  03:22



Heather LoCurto  03:23

I'll own it.


Chris LoCurto  03:27

We're gonna let her go first and then scale ours down a little bit. Irish poet and author samuel beckett said, "Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter, try again, fail again, fail better." So that's what we're gonna be talking about today, is how to help you through failure by learning from some of our failures, how can we not only understand that failure is inevitable, if you're following thought leaders who say, "Failure is not an option." Choose a different thought leader, right? Because guess what? Failure is inevitable. It's going to happen. So learn from it, learn how to fail better, learn how to take those situations and turn them into you being a better version of yourself. So we're gonna get vulnerable today, all of that is coming up right after this.


Joel Fortner  04:20

Hey it's Joel Fortner here, I'm the vice president of leadership development on Chris's team, and I oversee our Next Level Mastermind business coaching program. Most business owners and leaders lack a clear path to succeed in business, they question whether they're making the right decisions, if they're focusing on the right things to really grow their business. If this is you, you need a coach in your life. Coaches help you make better decisions, navigate uncertainty, lead more effectively, and grow your business without sacrificing your life and your family. In their first year, our clients typically see an average of 67% increase in gross revenue, and an average of 138% increase in net profit, and regained hours of time. Our clients stay in the program for three and a half years, simply because of the results they get. So if you're ready to run your business at the next level, and see the growth you've been wanting, then visit chrislocurto.com/mastermind. Again, chrislocurto.com/mastermind, today.


Chris LoCurto  05:21

Alright, we are back, and we are talking about failure, our own failures. And here's what we're gonna do. Literally at the break I said, "Who's going first?" But here's what we're gonna do. Rock, paper, scissors. Should we do it? Alright, here we go. 1, 2, 3.


Heather LoCurto  05:33

I don't know how to


Heather LoCurto  05:37

go crush


Chris LoCurto  05:39

123123 you can crank dynamite into the rock, paper, scissors, rock, paper, scissors, dynamite.


Heather LoCurto  05:54

It's an assumed thing.


Chris LoCurto  05:57

Alright, I'll go first. There you go folks. That's that's how we did it. Alright, so here's the main thing is what we're talking about is areas that we have failed as leaders. And my gosh, the truth is, you know, you hear me say it all the time, this business is based on my failures. This is based on me screwing up in life, failing in life. But by the grace of God, learning how to work through those failures, how to put tools in place, how to get over those failures, and then how to teach other people, and help other people to get through failures. That's what we do here. I mean, it's why we exist, right? Well, it's a big part of why we exist. We don't exist just to point out people's failures. But it's created this process of learning from failures and learning how to teach people through that. "Hey, listen, it is okay that you fail. It's okay that you screwed up. What are we going to do with it?" And one of the big keys that we talked about, we were discussing core values today in our leadership lunch, and one of the things that we were talking through is something that we say all the time, when somebody's struggling with solving problems, because solving problems is one of our core values. We talk about the five things: what happened, how did it happen, why did it happen, how do we fix it, how do we make sure it never happens again? So you know, we are huge on that. It's okay to fail, what are you going to do about it? So starting with me, so I have plenty of failures that I can teach on, but one of the big ones, for me, the failure side is, I'm the kind of person who wants to help, I'm always wanting to remove pain from the world. I'm always wanting to develop people, I'm always wanting to give people a chance when somebody is not going to give them a chance, I'm always wanting to help. The process of doing that. So there's many times I hire great people for their talent, I hire people for their gifts, I hire people, because they can do a job really well. And then every once in a while there is this desire to just help somebody who's down on their luck, and that's not the failure. So, that part I believe I will be doing for the rest of my life, is that when somebody is in need, helping that person to get out of that need, or you know, putting them in a in a big teaching environment to help them to overcome the situation that they're in. Here's where failure steps in for me; because my heart is there, because for me I'm very altruistic on my values, that's the highest by far value that I have is altruism. Because that's where my heart is, I follow that up with this hope. And so as I go through this. You leaders out there that hire people, I want you to be thinking about how you set this in your own hiring processes. And it may not have anything to do with altruism, it may just have to do with you believing you're gonna solve this. Because I have that hope, what comes along with it is, if I've put this person in the right environment, if I've helped them out, if I've given them the ability to get back on their feet, to solve things, put food on their table, all of these things, then they're going to become amazingly, you know, focused on bettering themselves. And an incredible thing happens for a period of time they do. We've all seen it. We've all experienced it. There's a period of time where that helps, and they're overcoming stuff and there's folks that I 100% believe over my 30 years now of hiring people, that it is blessed them, it's taken them to another level. I've had folks that have gone through this process reached out to me years later going, "Oh my gosh, had I not gone through that, if you hadn't helped me.." All of that. So there's so many good sides to this, there's so many good aspects, here's the failure side. Sometimes, folks that are struggling in those situations will have a tendency to self-sabotage in the process. Sometimes when given that opportunity, because it was done from the side of, "I want to help you grow, I want to help you be better, I want to help you overcome situations in life, I want to help you from making bigger mistakes in the future, I don't want you to continue on, you know, let's put you in an environment where we can get healing, we can get growth, we can get all that." That they get that to an extent, and then once there's a decent amount of growth and freedom and all that then all of a sudden there tends to be this, "Okay, now I'm going to go back to making these types of decisions, self-sabotaging decisions." Or, "Well, now I'm not good enough for this." Or, "Now that I've got these major problems in my life cleared, I'm going to go create new problems, I'm going to go down this direction." Whatever it is, what I tend to see, and like I say, it's probably not been 30 years that I've been doing this, it's probably been 18 or so years that I've been doing this, and what I've seen time and time and time again, is this, "Thank you so much. I appreciate this. Now I'm going in a different direction." And it tends to be a self-sabotaging process where they go back to making some not so great decisions. And as I sit down, over and over and Joel, you've been on on a conversation or two of this, I don't know if you've been on any of these conversations with me Heather. And by the way, we're missing Aaron West, we should have had Aaron on the show as one of our coaches. But next show. So what tends to happen is, is even when we sit down and we go, "Hey, look at all you've done, look at where you are, and look at how much you've grown. Look at great decisions you're making. Look at you've gotten some toxicity out of your life, you're putting food not only on your table, but you're putting money in the bank." Thing after thing, after thing. There can still be this. "Yeah, but." "Yeah no but I need to go do this, I need to go make this decision. I need to go jump in this crazy relationship, I need to go do..." Whatever it is. We see all kinds of stuff. And for me as a high alturist, is that my biggest business failure? Not at all. But here's how I relate this to, you know, leaders that are listening to this show, folks, how many times have you convinced yourself, you're going to fix this person, you're going to hire this person, you're going to put this person in place? Yes, you see some red flags, but everything's going to be fine. Everything's going to work out, I'm going to put them in place, they're going to become total rockstars. I'm going to be patting myself on the back six months from now. Because wow, what a great hire. And then three months later, you're going, what the heck is going on? This person is not working out. This is a struggle, why can't you just do the thing? And then, you know, for a lot of leaders who put somebody in that role, it's the, "I don't know how to fix this. I don't know what to do about this." So there is one of my big failures and why did I choose this failure, over bad financial decisions? I mean, I've made some bad financial decisions that cost me personally hundreds of 1000s of dollars, I've made bad decisions on situations that, you know, I've had those. Those are easier to fix. My heart struggles. This is one of those as a person who wants to lead people to success and help them to become better versions of themselves, which is why we're talking through failure for a quarter. This is one that I struggle with, personally of I don't want them to screw up. So, there is my situation. There's my failure that I'm bringing to the show today.


Joel Fortner  14:30

So let me ask you some questions. So have you recognized like, "Wow, I've I've done a lot of that over the years."?


Chris LoCurto  14:40

You kind of know this having been with me for eight years. In the last eight years, I've probably done it 3, 4, 5, 6, 4. So I mean, if you just kind of calculate probably in the last eight years, probably once every two years.


Joel Fortner  14:59

So what do you feel like you either miss or do you look back on yourself and say, gosh this is why I brought them in, and now maybe I'm frustrated with where they're at, what's like the bigger failure for you?


Chris LoCurto  15:15

 I'm so glad you're asking this because it's so funny, because we've had these discussions, right? Where it's like hey, this is what I'm looking to do, you know how many times have I done this, and said, guys this may end up horribly. Multiple times, hey I'm hoping this helps this person get to a better place, but guess what it could be a colossal failure. But hey my heart is, I want to help, I want to do something, now let me be very clear on this, it's never putting somebody in a vital role that we need a super talented person that I'm going, oh instead of getting a super talented person I'm gonna put somebody who's struggling in life into this role. It's never that. It's here's somebody who's struggling, can I help? Can I bring him in, can I plug him in? Do we have the money to pay and put food on their table and take care of them, it's all out of that aspect. But each time I've said, hey here's the situation, we've talked through it, you guys have asked me phenomenal questions, and you've never shot me down. Maybe one time. And that person didn't actually end up here anyways, so that's funny. But it's never been a this is the world's biggest mistake, it's a yep we agree we see that, we hope it works out, it's great, we have the opportunity we have the money, let's move forward on it, so. I don't know if that's answering the question, but I've never looked at it and gone, "I don't know what to do with this person, because we do. We help. We guide. And they have an immense amount of growth. But a lot of times I think it's the situation where maybe they didn't come after the role, they weren't interviewing for a role that was a career move that didn't also involve healing. So a person who's healed enough I guess as a way to say it, that is going after a career move, is making a specific, "I want this role, I want to come to this job, I'm not coming looking for a handout, hand up, help me out, emotional growth, healing, any of that there just going for a role. So I think because of the nature of the situation, which it's discussed with the people. You know, "Hey I want to help you out, I want to you know see if we can do something." I think that might put this little piece in there that there isn't the skin in the game that would be if somebody was going for a career role. Does that make any sense?


Joel Fortner  17:53

I think so, I think so, because an interesting thing is like you have a, we talk about it and you want to bring somebody in, and we want to bring them in, but then 3, 4, 6 months down the road, it's like well where are we now as leaders? Are we struggling, do we have expectations mismatch, or are we struggling with just you know the decision making of the person. A lot of that's what I'm hearing come through.


Chris LoCurto  18:20

Yeah and I mean I think that's it, right? Because we offer every opportunity, please let us help you on this, please let us guide you and direct you on this, and for the short period of time, it is a welcome gift. You know, it is a, thank you so much, yes this is what I want to do, that honeymoon period, because you're coming out of a crappy situation and then there's such growth. Like I say, the funny thing is is that you know a year or two later I get this, I can't tell you how much that meant to me, and how great it was and you know they've moved on, and then there's this wow the world is different away. And they go and face those decisions, and then I usually get this, probably half the time I'll get this, hey thank you that was so powerful. It really meant a lot to me that you allowed me to come in. So I think the big failure in my mind is, see the thing is is that I don't think there's anything wrong with having that heart, we're not affecting the business in a negative way, it's not affecting our revenues that we can't afford it, it's not affecting team members, the team is strong enough to be able to put healthy boundaries in place when necessary I think the failure is the the hope piece that with all of this in front of them, that they're going to make the decision to continue and not self-sabotage. The failure piece is watching the self-sabotage of okay, I've gotten so much healing and help, now I need to go make other decisions.


Heather LoCurto  19:58

Yeah no that's what I was gonna ask you, was do you see that failure as you know, you hoping to help them, and then they get here and they have all the tools and the opportunity in front of them, and still choose to self-sabotage. Because I think when we look back at it, I mean, we know going into it, hey, this is this is a risk, this may very well happen, because we all talk about it before going into that hiring. And then, you know, we don't know what happens on the other side. But I think we all as a team are stronger on the other side from it, and us as leaders are stronger from it, and we don't necessarily see it with that person, the effect that it has, but I would say, I know, you're heart enough to know that for you, that failure has to be that, gosh, if they could just get it. They're in a safe environment and amazing place. If they could just grab hold.


Chris LoCurto  20:59



Chris LoCurto  21:00

Yeah. So yeah, I think that the failure part on my side is an acceptable failure. I'm willing, knowing the environment we have, knowing the strength of the team, knowing the opportunities, knowing that it's not gonna affect anything in a horrible way. I think the worst one, affected us, you know, it cost us some money. It was really a kind of a shocker and a surprise, but it was one of those that it was like, well, we couldn't have seen that piece coming. So the reason again why I'm bringing this up, is because it's so relatable in the idea of putting a person in a role going, they're going to be great. Or a person's failing, and then saying, "No, I can fix that." That's me is the part that relates so well to to leaders out there, because we see it all the time, we see it all the time and events and everything and, you know, leaders talking to us going, "What would you do about this?" And the first thing is, you've got to get to a place of recognizing, I can't make you, I can't fix you, I can only highly suggest all the things to heal, to grow, to do better with. And then when I see you go into self-sabotage, I can only suggest that you don't. And that's the part where I feel like it falls apart is at that place of going. You and I have literally Joel sat down with at least one person going, you do see your self, you see what's going on, you see what you're doing in the person's responses. "Yeah, but I don't know how not to." And it was like that right there is that, I can't go any further than this. That's as far as I can go. I can't make you change, I can't make you make a better response. So for me it is that, you know, I've done what I can. But I still in my brain, even though we talk through it, even in my brain, it's like, this time, we've got the environment, we got the team, we got this person, right, yep, we're gonna do it.


Joel Fortner  23:07

So even though this is an acceptable failure for you, what's the learning?


Chris LoCurto  23:08

The learning is, is that I think every single time what we have done, is we have taken a really hard look at how fast we think this person might self-sabotage. You know, what would that look like? Are their hands going to be on anything that can affect clients, or are their hands gonna be on anything that can affect the team in a really bad way? So we've really, I think, got to a place of knowing that if this is going to happen, that the failure is not going to be a fatal failure. So if they self-sabotage, you know, we're either going to, you know, have them leave, if they're making really bad decisions, as far as a business goes, if they're making really bad personal decisions, that's on them, you know, we'll do what we can. But usually what tends to happen is, is when they do self-sabotage, they also peace out. You know, they realize, they literally can see I'm making decisions that go against the culture, I just can't stay because I want to continue to make my bad choice or bad choices. And so they usually tend to leave. So the things that we learn are, you know, and it's, I think it's been this way for a long time is, we just don't allow them to be a part of anything that could cause fatal failure to the business. We don't allow them to be part of anything that could cause fatal failure to a client. And then I think on the front side, there's a deeper discussion on things. You know, we don't say it out loud, but almost a, if you're going to fail, here's the direction you're gonna fail in, you know, in those types of situations. So I think those are those are some of the biggest learnings. I don't know what do you think? What do you guys think we've learned from this process?


Joel Fortner  24:55

Well, I think we've, 1) We've grown as leaders. I think it's great to have these discussions on the front side when we go into it because if leaders are hearing, "Wow, that sounds like a really crappy hiring process you guys have." Now this is the thing.


Chris LoCurto  25:01

 If that was the hiring process, that would be a crappy hiring process.


Heather LoCurto  25:07

guys have. Now this is the thing it


Chris LoCurto  25:10

was the hiring process, that would be a credit card. Exactly.


Joel Fortner  25:12

Exactly. It's not. It's a, we make choices to bring people into our business and our team very deliberately. And at times, it's a, we think it through. We may know, we know the risk, it's a calculated thing. But it may not be what I'm coaching people or Aaron's coaching people, or you are on hiring process, it's how we choose to do it, looking at it through giving an opportunity, altruism, all those things.


Chris LoCurto  25:36

 You know what, actually, I have had a couple of opportunities with somebody who's come to me, you know, leaders that have come to me saying, here's the situation. And so I've actually been able to coach them through and go, just understand. And it's the funny thing is, they've had the same initial responses as we did back in the day of, but if I do this, and something goes wrong, how's it gonna affect my team? And I always come back to the same thing that I posed to our team. Guys, do we not have healthy boundaries here? Are we not strong enough that if somebody's doing something that goes against our culture? And the whole team just goes, "Oh. Yeah, of course we are." So I think I've been able to coach other leaders who have had that altruistic heart of,  "What are your thoughts on me giving this person a chance?" And I'm like, here's all the ways it could go wrong. So I've actually had some of those conversations. Which is, again, good, because it's coaching on failure. Alright, so we're gonna finish up with Chris's failure right after this.


Chris LoCurto  26:43

Hey, leaders, what is this past year taught you? For many of you, the events in 2020 opened your eyes to core challenges and struggles that are deep within your business. I'm sure we can all agree that business as usual just won't cut it this year. But as a leader and a business owner, you may not know where to go from here. So I'm here to tell you that it's time to make a change. As a leader, it's time to pour into your business and your team by learning and implementing new core skills that will make an immediate impact. It's time to sign up for the Next Level Leadership Live event this April. This event is tailor made for small business owners and leaders just like you, helping you to move forward even in a climate of fear and uncertainty. This is not a positive thinking session. But a strategic thinking workshop chock-full of insightful teaching and impactful learnings that's going to equip you to return to your business and your team ready to implement and immediately impact their growth and stability. Go to chrislocurto.com/liveevent, or text "liveevent", one word, to the number 44222 for more information, and to get your tickets. Again, that's chrislocurto.com/liveevent. It's time to change your business and your leadership for the better, don't miss it.


Chris LoCurto  28:10

And we're back from the break, talking about our personal failures. And we're wrapping mine up, right there on everything that we discussed on, giving somebody a hand up and putting them in a situation and hoping that we can lead them to success, when it's not a regular hire somebody coming with talent, and you know, gifts for that role.


Heather LoCurto  28:35

Yeah. And before the break, you kind of were chatting about, you know, taking calculated risks. And I think that's one of the things that you teach us as leaders is that, hey, it's okay to take calculated risks, that it's okay to fail. And, you know, we need to learn from it. And so, as I was reflecting on, hey, what am I going to talk about when it comes to failure?


Chris LoCurto  28:58

Oh, good, we get to shift yours now.


Heather LoCurto  29:01

So, January, you know, once a quarter, we do a retreat here in our office. And one of the things that we've been trying to do is move me out of the details of a lot of things so that we can transition me into other stuff. And the workbook happens to be a-if any of you have come to one of our events, you know that the workbook has been known in the past to cause issues and-


Chris LoCurto  29:33

It's a mini book, right? I mean, it's so much information and detail.


Heather LoCurto  29:41

And so we got up right to the couple days before the event when I became aware of some miscommunication that was happening and some unraveling of the workbook details that were happening. And I actually came to you about it. And I said, "Hey, just FYI, this is going on right now. And no, it's not going to be a fatal failure, but I want you to know that I'm not going to-because my gut is to just step in, take control, takeover, run with the details and get it done, but that's not going to help in the long run, if we're trying to get me out of this. So hey, I'm just gonna let this play out. It's not gonna affect our clients, but I want you in the loop." And you were like, "Okay, cool." You know, and the day of the event, you know, we had some minor mistakes, the clients didn't know. But it was a good teachable moment on the back side, just to sit down with the team and say, "Hey, what happened? What did we miss? How did it happen?" You know, and walk through that process of failure with them, and out of it became this, now we have a best practices sheet, cheat sheet for, hey, when we're going to print with something, this is the checklist that you need to run through, because there are so many details that that can get missed. But it was, it was interesting, it was nerve wracking for me, because at the end of the day, the failure ultimately was mine as a leader, to, you know, to make sure that the team was set up for success. And at the same time, I'm wanting them to stretch and grow and be proactive. And so it was a good lesson all the way around for all of us to go-


Chris LoCurto  31:48

A failure that allows you the opportunity to teach failure to your team, "Hey, you failed at not leading them to success on it." Which, because you do such a great job of coming back through and finding, you know, walking through the process is it revealed that failure, but then you chose, which is I love, this just makes me so happy is that you chose in that opportunity to go, here's what I'm willing to allow so that the team experiences failure, and they can grow and learn from it. This this is not some, you know, crazy sadistic, I want to hurt people. It is a "Hey, this is a great opportunity. It's going to be failure, it's going to be a problem. I have already failed. How can I help the team grow?" Does that kind of sum it up?


Heather LoCurto  32:40

Yeah. Yeah. And it was getting them, you know, to learn on the on the backside, ultimately on, okay, how do I going forward, how do I anticipate, be proactive if I don't know how to do something? Or, you know, what resources do I have? What tools do I have? What pieces am I missing? To think that way, instead of you know, just going off of the checklist or just going off of what they know. So I think it was a teachable moment, it was fun to go back.


Chris LoCurto  33:19

It made for a fun staff meeting, we always have post-event meetings, which is always the Monday staff meeting after the event. And so it was a very heavy, but good staff meeting because we walked through, and we always ask people, hey, tell us where you saw failures. That meaning we do two things on that. And this is every single time I've done this for gosh, 20 years. Let's talk through all the good stuff first. We have to have that pat on the back, we have to celebrate, we just did this. We as a team rock this, we killed it. We did this, this is great. We go through the good stuff. And then we say okay, what did we screw up and what can we fix? So that we know, "Alright." And it's always, the culture in here is, "Fix it, let's move on. Let's go forward."


Heather LoCurto  34:09

Well, I think here's the thing that I saw out of that process was I know the process of going to print, I know that the things that I put in that email, I know the communication that needs to happen, because I know the vendor, and I know how they receive information. I know all those details. But when I step back, there's no other person that knows those details. And so, you know, like we have the saying that, hey, you need to write your processes, and your checklist or you know your action items, in a way that if you got bit by a rabid squirrel, somebody could come in and pick right up where you left off. And so it's a good opportunity to constantly be analyzing your processes, and go, is this so cut and dry, that any team member can jump in and run with it and know what to do? You know?


Chris LoCurto  35:10

We've had that saying for decades, it's so funny people are like, "Man, I wonder if rabid squirrels are a problem there in Tennessee?" No.


Joel Fortner  35:18

No, that's not part of our calculated risk.


Chris LoCurto  35:20

That's the part of the calculated risk. Exactly. So how did that go? How did that go with the team?


Heather LoCurto  35:28

It went well. I think what I love about our team is that they are quick to take personal responsibility or to just step up and go, "Shoot, I missed that. Yep. Yep. There it is." And so it was great just to have the conversation and walk through with them and go, "What could we have done? Or what would you communicate? Or what should you communicate to a vendor with this? How else would they know x, y, and z?" You know, getting them to just like I said, think "Oh, shoot, I just assumed that."


Chris LoCurto  36:03

Yeah, it's so funny, because you're choosing something, as you're talking through it, I'm thinking, I wonder how many people out there going, "It's a workbook, why is this a big failure?" And really, it's the workbook. So here's the great thing. We had this conversation with clients, and for a two day Stratplan last week, and one of the clients, you know, when they were at an event years ago, that we had a workbook issue. And it's so funny, because we were talking through allowing your team to fail and how to work through all that stuff. And he goes, he literally goes, this is Jamie, that was with us by the way. He goes, tilts his head back, "You know, I remember when we came to the event a few years ago, you were on stage, you know, in front of the whole crowd. He was you were on stage, and you said, you know, on page 72. And somebody said, 'Which page?' You're like, on this page. They're like, 'There is no page 72.' And he goes, "Chris, you just went, 'Does nobody have page 72?' And everybody's like, 'Nope, we don't have that page.' He said, You just looked to the back. And this is awesome. This is such a great moment in this discussion, as I'm helping them with their business. He goes, he goes, "You just looked at the back. And you went on." And he goes, "And all I could think of in that moment was, who's thinking they're getting fired? Who's thinking this is over?" And I said, "Oh, that's hilarious." I said, "Because here's what the look meant." So, well, instead of me saying it, what did the look mean?


Heather LoCurto  37:36

Yeah, you just looked in the back of the room to see if we have it. And you know.


Chris LoCurto  37:40

What was it?


Heather LoCurto  37:42

To see if one of us was gonna grab it, fix it, and make sure it didn't happen again. And so.


Chris LoCurto  37:47

We've literally not even talked about that in years. And I love that that's the answer, that you guys know. So for him, he's sitting there thinking, which is interesting, because then it makes me go, "Hey, I need to explain to the people, our communication." Where in his mind, because it wasn't a glaring stare, I wasn't I wasn't mad. It wasn't anything like that. But in his mind, he thought, "Oh, man, somebody is in trouble." And I said, "That's interesting you saw it that way because that's not what the stare meant." The stare meant; you got this? Go get them the page or do whatever, you know.


Chris LoCurto  38:24

And I so know my team, because we walk through this so well, that I know that we have a failure right now. And we have connected with eyes. And I know that you gave me a head nod. And that was it. I don't even have to think about it after this. Now we will talk about it on Monday morning, right? Of, "Hey, guys, that was a failure. How did that happen?" But I know that I can continue on the stage of moving forward, because the problem will be solved. W had the problems there. It's out there. It's a failure. It's a failure in front of a group of people. Nobody actually looks around and goes, Heather made this mistake, Joel made this mistake. People go, "Chris's team screwed up." And the great thing is, it's not a fatal failure. It'd be a completely different thing if there wasn't a workbook, right? They showed up, but it's like, "Hey, here's a number two Ticonderoga pencil and a pad, take great notes. You know, but that was a great moment of, hey, this is a failure. And that's why the workbook is something that for you and your team, you have so many opportunities to fail on this thing, because there's so much information, but that's why that was a big deal for you.


Heather LoCurto  39:53

Yeah, I mean, we've literally had workbooks where we half the workbook was upside down. And so we've made the failure of, there isn't in the checklist to go through the workbook and proof it once we got the physical copy. And so day of, or no, it was the night before our big event, that we caught the error. And we had to go to the printer, he had to print them off, we had to run back there the following morning, we had to reset all the workbooks, you know, and it's stuff like that, that the workbook has become a, hey, have you added that to the checklist? Have you made sure this has happened? And you know, anything can happen. But it's been a learning process.


Chris LoCurto  40:42

And it was so funny because that leadership lunch Joel's like, "Hey, Lynee wants to know, when can she nail this thing down for two months from now?" Right? She's wanting to make sure let's get this done. Because that's what it's caused. It's created this opportunity to go, oh, crap, you failed. This is your team, this is your area, you failed on this, fix it, it creates another different type of failure, fix that sucker. But it also gives you the opportunity to go, I need my team to feel this pain. And this is something that needs to be a burden to their saddle that makes them go, never again, always know this is coming.


Heather LoCurto  41:21

Yeah, I think I want to see that opportunity, too. Because it's like I said, it's such an anticipation, or what am I not? I want them to be able to get in the mindset of what could possibly fail? Yeah, what am I possibly missing? What haven't I covered, pin all the details.


Chris LoCurto  41:40

It would have been a waste for you to just take responsibility, it would have been a wasted opportunity for you to just take up responsibility, fix everything right away, and not allow them to, because there was plenty of failure on there that they could see, that they had opportunities to catch. And so it'd been a wasted opportunity for you to just take the responsibility and fix it, and allow everybody to feel some good pain. So now everybody senses it.


Heather LoCurto  42:08

Right. Exactly. Exactly.


Chris LoCurto  42:10

Good. Good. Good. Alright, Joelsph.


Heather LoCurto  42:14

So mine's personal failure, we're gonna go home failures. My failure, reflecting back as I was thinking of what to talk about, was a personal failure, just as a father. And I imagine a lot of parents will be able to relate to this once I explain it. So the other day, and the reason I'm hitting this is because we do business, leadership, and life. And I was like, well, I'll go life. Let's go personal. So I'm standing in the kitchen, and Malcolm is wanting water. And wanting a water cup, and how all kids do he wants his cup. Well, his cup is not available. So I'm going through all the kids cups down below, and I just pull out Josiah's. So I'm like, okay, we're gonna solve the problem. He's going to be okay. They share things all the time. And so I start filling, Josiah's up with water to give it to Malcolm, and Elise starts talking to Josiah and she says, "Hey, Josiah." And I didn't let her finish, I jumped in there and I said, "Elise, butt out." And Joel doesn't say things like, "Butt out." You can tell like I was just in a funk. I was feeling a little bit probably out of control, I was struggling and I was frustrated about some things. And he least is jumping in. And I cut her off. And then I fill up the water. I take it to Malcolm give it to him. And then I sit there and I'm like, Joel. You just totally jumped in, you have no idea what she was going to say. You made an assumption about what she was going to say. You need to find out what your six year old daughter was actually going to say. Because I'm assuming she's about to say, "Josiah daddy's giving Malcolm your cup." Right? That's what's in my head. I cut her off, and then I have too harsh of a response.


Chris LoCurto  44:23

And the funny thing is the assumption is that you are saving more conflict.


Heather LoCurto  44:28

Yes, exactly. I'm like, I'm gonna shut this down. And I'm creating it. And so here's the 42 year old creating the conflict with the six year old. And so I'm like, "Okay, what are you going to do?" So I go over and I sit down at the kitchen table, and I looked across her and I said, "Hey, what were you going to tell Josiah?" "I was just gonna let Josiah know that you were giving Malcolm his watercop, so he wouldn't come and ever pick it up. Mistaking it for his." And I'm like, boy Joel. Great work. Great job. And so I'm sitting there.


Chris LoCurto  45:07

And she's actually mitigating conflict between Josiah and Malcolm, not creating conflict, but-


Joel Fortner  45:13

Exactly. So I'm sitting and I look at her and I said, "Listen." I said, "I am so sorry that I just did that. I said, Daddy made a big assumption, I made a big assumption there." I said, "I'm sorry for doing that." And then she says, "I think we can all work on not making assumptions." She's six, and I'm like, so proud of my daughter. And then I'm looking at myself and I'm like, you are a moron. Don't make this mistake. But here's the thing I reflected back on it, I'm like, okay that's exactly how that should work out, is that, as the parent I have to be able to acknowledge, like, where I messed up. And go and actually apologize, go get the perspective. What were you actually going to say? Walk through it, apologize. And like anytime I've ever apologize to my kids, when I own a failure. The thing I immediately see in them is freedom. Weight leaves their body. A smile comes on it, because they realize, wow, I'm not in trouble. Because they know like, something wasn't right there. But there's freedom and weight, that leaves them. But then we go to like looking at okay-


Chris LoCurto  46:56

 That's a reconciliation. It's a redemption.


Joel Fortner  46:58

Exactly. And I'm like, man, what so much more of a huge failure. Because if I were still sitting here, two or three weeks off this failure, I still remember it. And what do I now feel if I don't actually do the reconciliation, right? Guilt, big time. And then I'm still gonna be sitting in pride, of not being able to apologize.


Chris LoCurto  47:20

And well what does she experience? "I don't even know why I was just shut down. But daddy's now upset. And it's my fault." She's six. And while she's so intelligent, Elise is now becoming a more consistent discussion, because she has such great phenomenal responses, like healthy responses. But there's no way, not only a six year old, but another 42 year old would have responded with. "I don't know what I just did to piss him off. But I did something." You know, it's it's so powerful to see, oh, my gosh, I'm literally relaying that to another person, by the way that I'm responding with this. You suck. And you better stop right now. And what I'm saying is, you suck. And I'm not going to tell you why. Right? So just even in that process of being able to recognize that impacts my child, if I stay prideful, if I don't do something about it, that impacts my child. And man, then what do I raise? Which is great, because why does Elise have such great responses is because you guys have done such a phenomenal job, training the kids on the things that we teach, and helping them to have healthy choices and all that kind of stuff.


Joel Fortner  48:42

Yeah. And it's like, it's interesting, because even as a Next Level Life facilitator, I mean, how many times do we actually teach and coach on this very topic and related topics. And my goal is not perfect kids, because I teach life stuff, right? Stuff's gonna happen, they're going to be imperfect. But I want to know how they respond, or I think a key is, is being able to have these tools and being able to work through, simply working through things like pride, because that's the number one thing that'll keep you back and hold you back from going and actually apologizing. Or it's just that fear and that pride that's in there of actually having reconciliation. And that's what holds back so many parents today. It's like, I can't go do that. I'm the parent. And so, or it's a, well that will put me in a place of weakness if I have to go apologize to my little kid. Nope, I have to be the parent, I have to stay. That's all self-protection. Yeah. And when we learn to work through that stuff, because that's not most of my life. Most of my life, it would have been, just to feel bad, feel guilty, but stay prideful, and just be right. And just let that situation go. Rather than, you know what? That's all just broken stuff inside of me.


Heather LoCurto  49:54

It's such a humble response. And then you know, you think about it and you know that Josaiah and Elise and Malcolm and Addie are all experiencing that, and growing up knowing hey, it's okay to own my stuff and humble myself enough to walk through that process because you're teaching them that. You're teaching them that it's okay.


Chris LoCurto  50:17

Yeah, I think, again, to your point, the story that Marybeth shared when Elise assumed something that happened at the playground, and then walking away was able to go, "Maybe I shouldn't have done that." Which again, goes so well, with her comment. "I think we can all work on not making assumptions." It's so perfect. And it's so interesting. One of the things you just shared. Another one of my godchildren Abby, I call her Abster here at the office. Abby, one of my godchildren works here, which I love that. As we we were having the discussion in staff meeting, and we were talking through a big teachable moment through the need to be right, or having to be right and everything. And she brought up such a profound piece of, there were so many profound pieces that went through the whole conversation. But one of the things she said, I'd never heard it this way, she made comment of the competition to be right. Like we always talk about the need to be right, have to be right, can't be wrong. We talk about that over and over and over again. And she made the comment about the competition to be right. And so it's just an interesting thought process of, when we take a look at all of these vulnerable opportunities. I don't know if you guys know which one I was gonna share. But I didn't know which ones you guys were gonna share. And why are these the ones that we shared? It's interesting, you didn't know what I was gonna share, did you? So none of us knew. And each one of us chose vulnerable failures, not "Oh, my gosh, this was a big business failure." But that's interesting that all three of us chose the vulnerable failures, right? Because these are the ones that matter to us.


Joel Fortner  52:07

Yeah, they have everything to do with the decisions that we made. There were failures in decisions, and they sting. And there's emotional impact. Because as I reflect back on this failure, every time I do, and I debrief it in this way, and I talk about it, we should cut a podcasts for every time we fail, that'd be great. We'd all learn really fast. But as I do that, I continue to learn and grow because I reflect, and that's really such a value of being even an Next Level Life Facilitator and a coach is, I see myself in the people I help all the time. And Marybeth and I were out on a date night the other night, and we were talking about this, is just talking about our stories and growth over the years. And I come to work every week. And I lead someone on Thursday and Friday. And I'm constantly learning and growing and seeing there's me, there's me, there's me, there's me, and then coaching people through it and allows me to grow as well. But she's like, you know what it's interesting, because I've not had that, that Marybeth has grown an immense amount. But it was interesting just to reflect on it that way, of looking at our levels of growth over the years, and just how it's come about.


Chris LoCurto  53:25

Yeah totally. I do love that. I'm just pointing this out. I love that the three of us came together on this pause and reflect, and we all chose vulnerable ones that sting. I thank Heather for that it's a vulnerable failure, because it's not only one that's happened a couple of different ways. And again, you haven't made the same exact failure on that. But it's in a moment that's right before, it affects clients.


Heather LoCurto  53:57

Well, yeah. That's the big piece is that it affects somebody else and I think that's why it hurts so bad or it's so personal, is because your poor decisions or your decision making process creates a poor experience for somebody else, it affects somebody else. So.


Chris LoCurto  54:15

Yep, so good stuff. I love it. And folks, I hope what you're pulling from this and what you're getting from this is, A) it's okay to be vulnerable. It's okay to fail. The thing is, is and by the way, if you have not noticed the greatest new marketing tactic of every piece of marketing out there that says, "It's not your fault." Why can't you lose weight? "It's not your fault." How come you can't grow business? "It's not your fault." Listen, take responsibility. It's your fault. It's your fault. Right? This is one of the new things that is out there like crazy, you know trying to teach people, "It's okay, you're a victim to the world." Oh for the love. As my wife would say, ditch it to the curb, instead of kick it to the curb. You have to know, don't live in the victim mentality, take responsibility, it's okay to be vulnerable, it's okay to fail. And as we're talking through these situations, each one of these situations, which is another funny thing, involves us helping somebody else to learn and grow through the failure process. You know, for me, us sitting down as a leadership team walking through is this, okay? Can we do this? Are we willing to take this calculated risk? You know, in your situation, if the failure is already there, here's an opportunity to help the team feel pain, which will cause them to have a heightened sense of making sure this doesn't happen in the future. And obviously, in yours, not only are you catching yourself in the process, and recognizing the good that your daughter was doing, but teaching the ability to, it's okay to screw up. It doesn't mean that you're a failure. It's okay to not only screw up, but take responsibility in the moment, when you do it, take responsibility, solve the problem and move on. So any last pieces of input from you guys?


Heather LoCurto  56:09

So I think as we talk about failure, I think it's important and we talk about it all the time, just to be really clear about having a common process, for failure. And I think like the one I'm about to share, it's very simple. You've already alluded to it, that we practice here on this team, but you can practice in your anywhere in life, anywhere failure comes up, if you have a mindset of learning from it is to ask these questions, what happened? How did it happen? Why did it happen? How are we going to fix it? How are we going to make sure it never happens again? And you're going to lead yourself to great answers. Does it mean it's never going to happen again? Maybe not. But you've sure mitigated the risk, and you've learned, you've put things in place. And so you can do this with any one of these examples we've brought up. I've been thinking about that, as we've gone through, it's like, well, how do we solve it? Like one piece I didn't share just really quickly was, well, hey, man, slow down and gain perspective, don't interrupt. Find out the information, and you avoid the whole failure, but if you fail, and you operate with that growth mindset of learn from it, rather than that fixed mindset of, victim mentality, or that fixed mindset of I just can't do it. Or like you said, it's like, you know, you just, you can't do it. Because the world's screaming at you. It's like, well, it's not your fault that's just causing you to live in slavery, rather than living in fixed mindset, or living in growth mindset of no, I just don't know yet. I can learn and I can grow, that these questions help you have a fantastic just process, that you can work with within your team or even teach to your family.


Chris LoCurto  57:45

Yeah. And again, does it work 100% of the time? Man, it's a solid 95% of the time, this process, that's great to a great place, there are times that a problem is so big, we actually have to come back, we're not getting enough perspective, or something has to change. But I mean, I'm saying 95% possibly 98% of the time, if you walk through those five pieces, it changes everything. And another thing I love is because we talked through this stuff, you know, the opportunities to look at how could we have done it differently? You know, for you? What if you were to just let her say what she was gonna say, then it becomes a teachable moment. What if she did create conflict? Hey, let's sit down and talk about creating the conflict, right? What if you don't say anything at all? And you solve the problem for the team? And then will they get into a position where it's a really tough, painful loss for them? You know, because of failure happens that doesn't get caught, right? What if we don't talk through? Hey, Chris, maybe this isn't somebody we, you know, we help with this process, all of those pieces. I think it's interesting. If we do not walk through this stuff like you just shared, then we may not get to a place of having greater perspective for making greater decisions. All right. Well, folks, hopefully this has helped you today. As always, you know what our hope is, you're listening to the hearts of people who want you to have a better life, to make better decisions to fail and be okay with a failure. Just learn how to get through it, get past it, solve it, do something different, right? So our hope is that you take this information, you change your leadership, you change your business, you change your life, and you join us on the next episode.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.