In this episode of “Yates in Your Face” (#YIYF for short), Greg Yates poses the question: Are you supposed to just give up after you fail? Should you just shut things down and stay home after an injury? Or, can your breakthrough come from the unforgivable, buried stuff no one is supposed to know about?

After a leader falls, people form fierce opinions. They’re extremely vocal in their opposition. The slang word for this group is, “haters.” Their sole job is to criticize. They quarterback the issue from the comfort of their living room arm chair. The bravest (using the word sarcastically) of your haters will cry foul loudly on social media.

What if you agreed with your haters after your own epic failure? We all want to be worthy and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps. But, when you despise yourself even more than your worst hater, your bootstraps feel too heavy to lift. We want to earn respect and to deserve grace.

The beauty of Jesus’ grace is not because we deserve it, but because we don’t! It’s not about being flawless. Grace is about being forgiven. If you can see Grace for what it is, life isn’t a game of posturing any longer. Suddenly, our greatest failures and deepest wounds become the opportunity for breakthrough.

If you’ve experienced any kind of failure as a leader, you’ll want to watch this episode of #YIYF.


It’s official. I have haters. And, I agree with them more than they know. Did I mention that after more than 30 years of successful business, I totally screwed up? I ended up pleading guilty to bank fraud and spent almost a year in prison. It’s true. I was sure nobody wanted to hear what I had learned through that but I was wrong. Turns out there is a lot of unspoken, pent up fear and brokenness out there that is destroying people’s lives. Apparently, if we fail, we’re supposed to just give up. Nobody told me!

I had an idea for an episode of the twilight zone. In it, every injury you get, never heals. And, every year on your birthday, the accumulated damage of aging just hits you all at once. You wake up the next day and BOOM. You’re older. How do you think people would treat their bodies if they never healed. We’d be buying protective bubbles to exist in. none of the sports we love would exist. People would think twice about any form of exposure. When the weather was bad, we’d just shut things down and stay home. Most of us wouldn’t have made it out of childhood.

But what about real damage? Not the ‘sticks and stones’ fallacy .. the real stuff.

The stupid, unforgivable crap that litters our lives. The stuff we’ve buried and we hope nobody finds out. Are those wounds supposed to heal, even if they are self-inflicted? Is this life just about pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps or is there an enemy out there conducting guerrilla warfare with pride, fear and doubt?

Can I only talk about leadership if I am a super hero?

See, that’s the problem. My haters…. They know about my skeletons. They think I’m trying to pretend they don’t exist, but they’re wrong.

I’m screaming out in agony over the wounds I’ve caused others, my family and myself. I HATE IT. I hate myself for it. I can’t imagine how God could love me or anyone could care about me. I want to EARN respect. I want to have followers because I’m flawless. I want God to love me because I’m such a good guy, not in spite of who I am or what I’ve done.

I know you want to be worthy. You’re tempted to wear the masks, just like I was wearing. Leadership begins with being able to lead my own life and being able to follow my leader, Jesus Christ. Let me be clear. The audience for Breakthrough Leadership is the Christian leader who believes that beyond failure lies potential. Not because we deserve it, but because we don’t.

If you want to follow a hero, I’m not your guy. If you want to talk about brutal, real life issues, I’m going to do my best. I’ve discovered through failure what leadership is and what it isn’t. I began these rants talking to myself, realizing the ways I got it wrong. I was angry. … I’m not flawless. I’m forgiven.

I had two options ahead of me when I got home from prison. One was to keep my head down and move to a new state. The other was to own it and spend my life talking about the stigma of brokenness no matter how many haters come to bat.

If you’re broken, you know that life isn’t a game of posturing any longer. It’s more like rugby. The things you don’t want to think about might be the only possibility for breakthrough.

About Greg

Greg Yates has been a Chicago area businessman for over 30 years. He’s the author of the book, "Broken - How Being Broken Unlocked The Greatest Success of My Life". He has simultaneously owned 14 different businesses in a variety of industries; including real estate, manufacturing, payroll, and technology. Greg has also been an investor and a board member. He attended Olivet Nazarene University. He has a passion for flying. He’s had a pilot’s license for over 30 years and owned a variety of airplanes. Greg and his wife Vicki have been married over 37 years. They have a son, a daughter and seven grandchildren.

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