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What Else Could Be True? (#156)

TCL Illustration 156

The Confident Leader


I was set to guest on a podcast. My team had vetted the host, set it up and prepared me. I had even done my own research. I was invested and ready. I logged on and waited. And waited. He was a no-show. My instinct was to…

“What else could be true?”

— Wise and dear friend of Robin Pou

This Week’s Edition

Are you sure you have all the information? If you don’t, making a business decision without all the facts could expose you and your organization to unnecessary, additional risks. Oh… and Happy 3rd Birthday to The Confident Leader.

Clarify Your Thinking

The host failing to show up tempted me to be mad and frustrated. “How dare he ghost me. Doesn’t he know how much I prepared? If he isn’t taking his own show seriously, why should I. He wasted my time. Argh!”

When situations like this arise, I am reminded of the best gift I have ever received, a simple question offered by a wise friend: “What else could be true?” 

For over fifteen years, this one question has rescued me from the trap of assumptions, and forced me to be curious and dig for more information. 

Without these five words, I would be left to my own conclusions, errant as they may be: “Nothing else could be true. The way I am seeing things is right. It’s the only way it can be interpreted.” Emotions are powerful blinders. 

Leaders who fail to pause and ask themselves “What else could be true?” are susceptible to:

  • Surrendering to their emotions related to missed expectations
  • Making ill-informed decisions without all the facts
  • Risk being seen by their team as impetuous

Old Thinking: I can’t believe they did that. That’s unprofessional. They aren’t reliable. I don’t think I can trust them.

New Thinking: That’s a bummer. I didn’t expect that. I may not have all the facts. I wonder what else could be true?

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Three years ago, I was nudged by a few leaders to put my leadership coaching nuggets into a weekly newsletter. In my head, I scoffed, “who reads weekly newsletters? Does the world really need another newsletter? Who would even be interested in reading it?”

Well, thankfully, I asked my assumption-prone inner voice, “What else could be true?”

That question put me on a path to find out… to get the facts. So, I surveyed over 50 leaders:

  • Do you subscribe/read email newsletters?
  • Would you be interested in one about leadership?
  • If so, what would be interesting to you?

The result of that curiosity and comprehensive investigation was the birth of The Confident Leader newsletter. 

Over the years, you have been very generous in your praise for the content and the consistency. I’ve received countless comments about leaders who’ve benefited from the content. 

I am thankful I didn’t let my mild skepticism rule the day. I pursued additional information that caused me to do something – launch something that you’ve said has been helpful. Today, we have over 3500 subscribers with a 67% weekly open rate (industry average is approximately 23.5%). Wow… I’m humbled and honored.

Take these simple steps to make sure you don’t overlook a crucial piece of information in your leadership: 

Step One: Ask yourself, “What else could be true?”

Step Two: Be curious and dig for the information that increases your perspective. Write it down.

Step Three: Relish the fact that you have garnered more information with which to make a better decision.

Happy 3rd birthday to the The Confident Leader newsletter. I’m glad I asked myself ‘what else could be true?’ which launched this incredible journey. To celebrate, we thought we would refresh the design. We hope you like it. 

Boost Your Performance

Turns out there was more information about why the podcast host failed to show up. Once again, “What else could be true?” saved me from over-reacting and possible embarrassment. Find out the rest of the story in this week’s video.

What’s Your Opinion?

What’s your approach to getting more information and resisting assumptions? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.