mwotw mistakes of ambition

Mistakes of Ambition

“Wait what?! You’re killing your main product?!”

That was me, earlier this week, talking with a big client of mine. 

Since 2021, I’ve been helping them with messaging related to their ambitious mission. 

They had a clear theory of change when we first met, which involved creating software for senior living operators.

That was step one in a very big plan that looked decades into the future and ended with transforming how America cares for seniors.

We wrote pitch decks, with which they raised LOTS of investor money.

We wrote a website describing their products, including their flagship software. 

We wrote email campaigns and one-pagers and sales decks. 

Just a couple months ago, we rewrote the landing page for the software. 

Their development team kept working on making the product better and better.

And this week, they killed it.

Instead of continuing to sell their software, they’re now partnering with an existing tool that serves the same customers in a similar way.



Because in the 2 years since we first started working together, they learned a TON about how they might achieve their mission.

And they see a lot of better, different paths forward now than they did back then.

Pouring money and energy into making their own software was harder than they expected, and turns out not to be necessary for pursuing their larger goal.


Here’s the thing:

Building that software was a Mistake of Ambition.

That’s the kind of all-important mistake you MUST be willing to make if you want to do anything truly new and interesting.

They moved ahead based on the best information they had.

They were brave and bold and risked taking a stand. 

Their ambition led them, and their ambition taught them. 

This is the kind of mistake you must cultivate.

Are you willing to risk failing in order to learn?

Ambitiously yours,


PS – There’s another kind of mistake though. One you definitely DON’T want. I’ll talk about that next week.

This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.

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