We all strive for success. But author, entrepreneur, and leadership coach Colin Hunter wants to encourage leaders to embrace failure instead. As the CEO and Lead Guide of PotentialSquared, Colin inspires leaders to disrupt the way they engage and develop their people, encouraging them to try new ways of thinking, systems, and habits.
By reframing failure as a valuable part of experimentation and learning, he says, leaders can grow and unlock more potential in themselves, their teams, and their organizations.
Read on to learn more about Colin and his transformative perspectives on success—and failure.
Which three words best describe you?
Restless, energized, experimenter.
What is your book about?
Be More Wrong (September 2021) focuses on how leaders can sail their ships out of the harbor and seek rougher seas—to experiment with their teams, be more wrong, learn and grow. Relearning failure as a valuable outcome makes for an outstanding and successful leader. Building from your insecurities is essential to leadership. But that’s easier said than done.
What if you could build a workplace culture that was less like a classroom, and more like a playground: a place filled with opportunities to take risks and test boundaries, with soft ground on which to fall? A place where you and your team are free to make mistakes and get things wrong―a place where it’s okay to fail?
What is the last book you read?
Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende. I love any material that uses analogies to teach different ways of seeing the world. Sam has crafted a fun and engaging book based on the sometimes misunderstood role and ways of pirates—from the Pirate Code to their ability to challenge the role of the leader, and how they divided the benefits or spoils of their work.
What are people always surprised to learn about you?
Probably the biggest surprise to people is that I battle with self-confidence due to imposter syndrome. I describe myself as a recovering imposter syndrome sufferer, having worked on developing the mental strength to find comfort in myself and my gifts.
Who is your favorite author?
J.R.R. Tolkien, for his ability to tell a story. The Lord of the Rings has engaged multiple generations and has not lost its power. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy have been a big influence in the writing of my book, Be More Wrong.
What was the biggest mistake of your career, and what did you learn from it?
My biggest mistake was listening to other voices and not the ones in my head. I started my career as a tax consultant, when I really wanted to be an actor. My family and advisors had a bigger share of the voices in my head telling me it was safer. I’ve spent my career working on shaping who I am and my purpose, and listening to my own thoughts and feelings.
What is your personal motto?
“Pay it forward.” By making connections with others and paying it forward, without expecting anything in return, you build a movement that is unstoppable. You might be wrong sometimes, and occasionally people will take advantage, but the value when it works is huge.
Where do you find inspiration?
Experimentation is my source of inspiration. I describe myself as a squirrel, like in the movie Up! where the dog is constantly distracted by squirrels. I have always loved experimenting—from changing my bedroom around when I was a child every two weeks, to travelling to different cultures, to now creating playgrounds for leaders to experiment and disrupt the way they lead.