In High School I judged Dairy Products for our FFA chapter. If you’ve seen Napoleon Dynamite, it was not quite that awkward, but it was close.
I will never forget the hardest lesson I learned from judging Dairy Products: never second guess my first reaction.
This lesson was learned when I thought I had completed a perfect score (something very few people are able to do), but had at the last moment second guessed myself, and lost my perfect score. It was a silly mistake, but…
Mistakes make us who we are.
I judged dairy products for 4 years, and learning from that one mistake made all the difference in the world. I learned to trust myself and my first reaction. I learned to not overthink a situation, and I was better for it.
So, mistakes make us who we are.
Now, as much as I would like to claim otherwise, I have made more mistakes in the time since my days as a “milk spitter”. I am still making mistakes. Most of the lessons on this blog have to do with mistakes I’ve made over the years. But making mistakes is not the point.
Learn from your mistakes. What missteps have you made in the past month? What can you learn from those shortcomings? What can you change as a result?
Making mistakes is human. Learning from mistakes is what sets leaders apart.
You’re going to make mistakes. Let them shape you into a better person.
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January 30 was when I started blogging regularly on this site. I started out because I had a simple idea I felt like I needed to share. (You can read more about that here.)
Today, we are nearing the end of June, which means I have been blogging consistently (for the most part) for five months.
If you’ve stuck with me so far, thank you so much. I have been advised not to watch my views and visitors, but I do it anyway. So, every time you click, I’m grateful.
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Once again, thank you for your time, for your encouragement so far, and for the days and weeks ahead. I think we are onto something great as we continue to help expand your leadership influence!
Very few things frustrate me more than feeling like my opinion does not matter. In fact, if I feel like someone is listening to what I have to say, I am generally okay with the outcome of a decision, even if it is not my decision.
I have seen this happen in rooms when planning summer camp. There will be a discussion, ideas being tossed about, and then I offer my opinion. Several times, I have offered a foolish or small-minded opinion or suggestion, and the conversation moved on. And I’m okay with that.
But the reality is that when I feel valued, I want what’s best for the situation.
The next question then becomes: if I feel that way when I’m not in charge, how am I treating people when I am in charge? Am I listening to those around me, or am I bulldozing ahead with what I want to do?
The challenge of leadership is knowing the people you lead and learning what speaks to them. Leadership, therefore, is not something we do in a vacuum. On the contrary, leadership is very much a process focused on people.
How are you connecting with the people you’re leading? You don’t have to bow to their every idea, but find what motivates them and watch your leadership influence increase.
Leaders take notes. I know that I remember things better when I take notes. I know that when I take notes, I essentially have a record of my learnings that I can examine later and help cement what was happening.
But, I stink on the discipline side of taking notes.
Or, when I have a good idea, I’ll think to myself “this is a great idea! I’ll never forget this life changing idea!” When, in reality, the next day the idea has already been forgotten.
I know this is not a revolutionary concept by any means, but it is still a concept worth covering. Write things down.
I jump around on what I use to keep written track of my thoughts and ideas. I have used composition notebooks, Moleskine notebooks, a yellow legal pad (which is my current weapon of choice), and even small notebooks I had made for the ministry at my church.
Or sometimes I will use my phone to help keep track. My current app of choice is Wunderlist, although Evernote, the basic To Do App, and the Notes app on my iPhone have all gotten plenty of usage over the years.
The bottom line is this: find what works for you, and use it. You’re not me (thankfully), but the principle is true. If you want to grow in leadership, in productivity, in influence, in life, good things happen when you start to write things down.