There is No Try

kid with cape standing under tree

Even a casual Star Wars fan may recognize the notable line Yoda says to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back:

“Do or do not. There is no try.”

Luke is doubting his ability and uses try as an excuse to not put 100 percent of his effort into his goal. Yoda isn’t having it.

Here’s the scene if you need a refresher:

I have a mentor who stops me whenever I fall back into the habit of saying I’m going to try to do something. “No, you don’t try. You either are doing it, or you’re not.”

If you’re wondering, “What’s the difference?” you aren’t alone. It took me a long time to grasp what he was saying. Plus, after all, you can’t do anything unless you try first.

But, this wisdom goes deeper than the surface interpretation.

It’s about your state of mind. To only try you are accepting the possibility of failure. Now, that’s not to say failure is a bad thing.

You can learn more lessons from failure than you can from success.

But, when you only try, you are limiting yourself and your capability.

Trying is Not Enough

Which sounds better?

“I am going to try and implement technology and insurance agency software to improve the customer experience with my agency.”


“I am going to implement technology and insurance agency software to improve the customer experience with my agency.”

I hope you said the latter.

If you don’t commit and make time to find the right mix of technology and insurance agency software, how are you going to improve the customer experience and compete?

We use the word try as an excuse to not give a goal our full attention and effort. It provides justification for when we don’t get to it because we kept putting our goal off. Or, we use try as a defense when our half-hearted attempt didn’t succeed.

Trying our best is no longer enough. Trying means we are more likely to give up at the first sign that things will be challenging.

If your mindset is that you will try, you are robbing yourself of the opportunity to achieve your goals. To complete what it is you want or know you need to be doing.

How to Make Doing a Priority

1. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Same with what may feel like a challenging goal. Break it down into smaller pieces. And, break those smaller pieces into even smaller goals. Keep going until you have a list of tasks that are no longer intimidating and become achievable.

2. Set deadlines. The structure of deadlines on each task can make a big difference. It’s harder to miss a step that way. Plus, it can make it easier to evaluate your progress.

3. Enjoy the journey. Yes, you are working toward an end goal. But, working on a goal that is challenging and outside your comfort zone can also be fulfilling. There is a lot to learn along the journey as you work towards that goal.

Don’t let the unknown scare you into hiding behind try. It’s more important to undertake your goal unreservedly.

Do or Do Not

To succeed in doing you may not end up with what you intended to do, and that’s okay. You still did.

Trying is merely hope. And, no business reaches its goals on hope alone.

About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As Chief Marketing Officer, Becky Schroeder is responsible for driving ITC’s overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include creating and documenting processes; establishing metrics for managing those processes; developing content strategy and generating leads; and developing marketing strategy. Becky was named an Elite Woman in Insurance by Insurance Business America in 2016. She has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.

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