Four Things I F*cked Up in 2016

Well, another year is upon us. Another 365 days to crush our goals and to live the life we truly want – not in 10 years, but today, and every day. We don’t know how much time we have on this earth and it is arrogant to think that we do know. So make each day count.

I spent a lot of time last weekend just enjoying my family and getting outside without the pressure of emails. In fact, I purposefully didn’t send emails to my team because I didn’t want to infringe on their time with their families either. I also spent a lot of time reflecting on the last year – what went well and what I truly f*cked up. Each mistake, each failure is a gift, as long as you actually learn something from it, right?

Here are 4 things I f*cked up in 2016. I’m sure there are more (just ask my wife!), but these are the ones that hit hard and I will be pushing through for several months to come.

  1. Not holding my money as accountable as I should have.When your company gets to a certain stage, with certain staffing, it starts walking and talking and spending money on it’s own. You must have certain controls in place to ensure that your money is performing as it needs to for the good of the organization. This means employees paying for themselves. This means holding tight to a financial plan and if sales projections are not met, then cutting expenses to achieve the net income number you had decided upon. This means carefully reviewing contracts to ensure you are not on the hook for additional fees or pay-outs on investments that you had not anticipated. Can you see the hard lessons I learned this year?
  1.  Listening to the emotional, instead of the numerical story. Numbers paint a story. But the story your team (or yourself) tells is often much more entertaining to listen to. But numbers don’t lie. Sure, there is always a story surrounding the numbers, but you’ve got to cut through the bull-shit and listen to what the numbers are telling you. Should you invest into a particular deal or not? Are your sales numbers increasing month over month and can you count on that to happen again or was there one huge sale that skewed the financials? Look at the trends. Look at the downside (not the upside) of a deal and if you stomach the risk of the downside (and financially support it)- then go for it. If not, walk away. Better yet, run!
  1. Making bad hires. I took a chance on my gut instead of listening to what our recruiting and hiring process was telling me. I didn’t pay enough attention to track record, or lack thereof. I hired out of pain and did not slow down and ask enough questions before making the hire. I skipped over some steps in our hiring process and while it’s been some time since I parted ways with these individuals, I am still paying the price. The cost of a bad hire goes far beyond just the financial repercussions. It effects your team’s moral, your reputation, your emotional fitness, your family, and more. We have an outstanding recruiting and hiring process but it will fail every time if you don’t follow it. Slow down. Make sure your get your team’s buy-in on the candidate. And for god’s sake, don’t hire out of pain! It will bite you in the ass in the long run.
  1.  Not replacing myself before I moved on to other companies and ventures. Instead of hiring my replacement for one of my companies, I thought I could lead that company, while I was also moving on to build and grow three other companies. Well, I couldn’t, and that company suffered. I am now in the process of back-tracking and making that critical hire so that company has the right leadership in place to grow it even bigger than I ever could. All of your companies, divisions, etc. deserve a strong leader who’s sole mission is to facilitate the growth of those employees and that company. It is your job to make sure you hire that leader before you let go and move on to another venture.

So what does this mean for 2017?

In addition to learning from my f*ck-ups and creating actionable steps to mediate those issues in the future, I plan to focus on one big goal for 2017: VULNERABILITY. While I’m probably not going to share my daily journal with you, I am committed to sharing even more of my failures and faults. I am committed to taking off some of my armor and letting the world see even more of who I am – the challenges, the struggles, and the successes. No BS. Just the raw, real me. Get ready.



  1. Susan Donnelly

    Thanks for the honest sharing! Helps others with our own reflection and learning from it. Interesting on how even with a very large business it still can come back to the basics. Onward to 2017

  2. Thomas Hergenrother Sr

    Adam I like your Blog, 365 days has passed, and only 4 things were missed. Think about those two numbers and the odds that represents, one would think well that’s not that bad, but it only takes 1 missed decision with magnitude that can start a domino effect that can take months to elevate back to growth in both personal and business. I like your attitude and vision, for yourself and the help for others. Dream Big – Be Bold – Have No Fear

  3. Olga St. Pierre

    Another deep, thought provoking post. It encourages me to know that everyone, including those like you, on top, has challenges, makes mistakes, falls hard on the ground. Being mindful of how and how quickly we get up and analyze/learn/propel forward is what makes the difference.

    1. Adam

      problems and challenges are a sign of life. my goal is to just have better quality problems! if we learn to embrace the struggles and find joy in fighting forward and failing forward, then we’ve already won, regardless of the outcome.

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