Bubble Language School

12 Failures in a Row Make One Success

Thank you esteemed Toastmasters, for having me here today, enabling me to speak before you.

12 Failures in a Row Make One Success

I have failed so many times in leading my team I have lost actual count.

On our team, we have 11 different nationalities with 11 different types of passports.  

Diversity is…strength.

And I fail every day in leading them…

In our meetings and work, I can imagine that one team member is learning English, another’s improving their Thai, one’s in the bathroom on Instagram, 

and another’s dreaming about being on a beach with no responsibilities — That’s me by the way.  


In a startup, a growing business, and small work family, 

personal and professional motivations blur.

Sometimes, the line between work and personal identity mix 

and it’s hard to figure out what’s what.

How to synchronize the efforts of 21 different souls?  

Over 40 people depending on my decisions if you start including kids, parents, and grandparents…

From creating a new sign for our street front,  to negotiating the takeover of an international school campus,

These four elements teach me every day in each of my failures.



An open-mind.



A constantly evolving growth mindset.

All backed up by


In every scenario, it’s important to maintain a healthy, logical 3rd perspective that protects you.

We have so many different types of communication and interaction these days.

Georgy and Betty, my objective PHD rationalists, 

Are protecting me, and reminding me of what’s fair and right.

Because, they say, “hey, yes, most people would agree that’s a good move.”

“I’ll log that into our Gdrive, and we’ll remember it for future reference.”

“This outside perspective says you’re not crazy. You’re fine.”

In all of this, there are a couple things I have learned.

People never like it when you tell them what to do. 

As problems and solutions are inherently married, opposite sides of a way to a positive outcome, 

People need to come up with the solution themselves.


Because the solution we find ourselves is  the most satisfying.

Anything less leads to more stuff you have to deal with eventually. 

So, my failures.

The first way I failed in managing work was a simple paper todo list. 

How I communicate work impacts how I lead, how I achieve respect, and how we earn trust.

Respect is a two-way street. If I asking for respect from you, you’re getting respect from me, too.

The following 10 failures were a combination of Trello, Japanese KanBan boards, Microsoft Todo… 

To eventually finally writing 30,000 words of our company’s bylaws, processes, and procedures,

Which, I am happy to report, is another failure. 

No one reads it. 

But, it’s there!!

So, in summary, here’s what I learned:

People hate todo lists and management systems that create accountability. 

A leader must guide a team and team members to a solution of their design.

Today, the partnership is the best way. 

If you find someone of complementary skill sets, ethics, and a mutual understanding of aims

You both will find a way there.

With each partnership layering inside of a team, you build a system that can accomplish goals small and large. 

And  remember, when you fail 12 times, maybe the unlucky 13th is the one that works.

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