Some people believe that they never make mistakes. They are perfect. They know everything. The reality is everyone makes mistakes and this is just part of the journey that God has called us.
In the book Leadership Gold by John Maxwell he writes how he once told a man “you are making the mistake of thinking you won’t make any mistakes.” I think this is perfect because it is incredible to me how many people walk around thinking that they make no mistakes and even when they do they blame someone else.
Just yesterday I went riding dirt bikes with some friends for the first time this year. I jump on the bike, ride onto the track and right away I start pushing myself and then mistake, after mistake, after mistake. The reality is that I expected to make those mistakes because It was my first ride of the year. Every mistake is only an opportunity. The goal is learning from those mistakes while also asking others what mistakes you are making.
The biggest mistake you can make is by not asking or learning from your mistakes. If you ever want to be a great leader you need to change and start expecting mistakes and asking what mistakes you are making. John Maxwell says, ” Everyone makes mistakes, large and small. To get maximum attention, make a big mistake. To cause maximum damage, fail to admit it. That will keep you from growing as a leader. When it comes to success, it’s not the number of mistakes you make; it’s the number of times you make the same mistake.”
John Maxwell also writes that there are five things if you want to fail successfully you can follow.
1. Admit your own mistakes and weaknesses. This is a huge problem for most because there egos are to large. They think, I do not want to let people know that I am weak or I make mistakes. Let me tell you if you want to earn trust and respect from people you lead you better start admitting your mistakes and weaknesses before they beat you to it and call you out. John writes, “you assume that your people don’t know your weaknesses?, trust me they do. When you admit your mistakes, it is not a surprise to them; it is reassurance. They’ll be able to look at each other and say, ‘whew! He knows. Now we do not have to keep pretending!”
2. Accept mistakes as the price of progress. I promise if you are interested in success you are going to have to learn to view failures as a healthy, inevitable part of the process of getting to the place you want to be. Realize now that nothing is perfect in this world not even you! Failures are something to get excited about. Why? Because you are one step closer to where you want to be. Get excited to fail.
3. Insist on learning from your mistakes. Stop being worthless and saying at the end of the day I made it through without any mistakes. Start looking at your day as an opportunity to learn from mistakes. Take some risks, try some new things. The point is growing right? There are two types of people. One who never takes any risks and stays in one place their whole life. The other takes lots of risks and continues growing and leading themselves to the top. I guess the question is where do you want to be?
4. Ask yourself and others “what are we missing?” Elizabeth Elliot says “all generalizations are false including this one, yet we keep making them. We create images -graven ones that can’t be changed; we dismiss or accept people, products, programs and propaganda according to the labels they come under; we know a little about something, and we treat it like we know everything.” If you want to be a leader you better be more discerning than that. If you want to be great and wise you need to understand this happens through failure. You will get very little wisdom and greatness from success. Start asking what are we missing?
5. Give the people around you permission to push back. The best leaders are the ones that genuinely invite the opinions of the people on their teams. People want to be heard, people want to help, people want to see others get better. Think about the kid running a race and he is trying so hard yet he can’t make it to the front. What does this make you think? Keep trying little buddy you can get there. This kid is probably the one winning the Olympics today. Have an open door policy and you will find that you can learn allot.
Thank you for taking the time today to read and please give me your thoughts and opinions as I would be more than honored to discuss.
Remember nothing great was ever accomplished without mistakes and failure.