Leadership Summit Part 3!
Have you ever had that feeling that you just weren’t good enough? Something inside of you that says you will never succeed. I have felt that way on different occasions. Maybe you are working really hard toward a degree and it just doesn’t come as naturally for you as it does for someone else. Or maybe you are working in a church ministry as a volunteer and you just can’t seem to get your ministry off the ground. Maybe you are a pastor or church leader and it just seems like everything you try, fails miserably. Pretty soon you begin to hear that voice inside that says, “You’re just not good enough.”
There was a man by the name of Michael Jordan. He used to shoot a round ball through a round hoop about 10 feet off the ground. He soared through the air like a bird. In fact, his line of shoes are called “Air Jordan.” Yet as successful as Michael has been on the basketball court, he was cut from his high school basketball team. I bet that coach hasn’t slept a night since Michael’s days at North Carolina. Rather than write out for you all of the times Michael has failed just watch this video to hear a few from the man himself.
And these are just to name a few. Michael failed many times and through his failures he became known as the greatest to ever play the game. High praise for someone with so many failures. But now back to your failure.
Ironically, this is the part of your life where you should feel the best about yourself. Chip and Dan Heath, authors of the book “Made to Stick,” and the soon to be released, “Switch,” call this the “valley of insight.” I like that terminology much better than failure. They say that in this “valley of insight,” we learn many valuable lessons. We have insight that helps us to learn and overcome our mistakes. As we come up out of this “valley of insight,” we begin to experience confidence. I guess we can grow confident about things when we learn from our mistakes.
I happen to like this idea very much. I like the idea that when I feel like I am at my worst or that I am utterly failing at something, that chances are I am also learning. It is the people who can look at their failures and learn from them who have what is called the “growth mindset.” This is the mentality of a man like Tiger Woods. He went on a winning tear early in his career. At the pinnacle of the game, no one could even come close to him. It was at that time that he went out and reworked his swing becuase he felt that he could get better. This is the mentality of people who will grow and succeed.
In the church world we are notorious for certain phrases. One of the most often quoted is a simple, seven word phrase. It goes like this, “We’ve never done it that way before.” This mindset leads to mediocrity in the Kingdom of God. This is the mindset that prevents the church from keeping up with the current generation. This is the mindset that says, “Failure isn’t an option,” when in reality failure is the only option. Because only in our failures are we actually doing anything.
Only in our failures are we trying.
Only in our failures are we learning.
Only in our failures are we growing.
Only in our failures will we ultimately succeed.
How many of you want to be mediocre leaders in the Kingdom of God? Or in your business? Or in your school? Or in your home? My guess is that there isn’t anyone who wants to be mediocre at anything they try. I can guarantee you one thing; if you are so afraid of failure that you don’t try, the only thing you will succeed at is failure. And the church is the last place we can afford to fail. The church is the hope for mankind, it is the Kingdom of God on earth designed to reach out and share a wonderful message of salvation and grace to a hurting world. This message and mission have eternal consequences. In this we can’t afford to fail, therefore we can’t afford to be afraid of failure. Church leaders have to look failure in the eye and say, “Bring it on.” If I fail, at least I tried. But while I’m on earth I’m going to give all I have to share this message with the world around me.
What are you afraid to try because you think it will fail?
What is your church afraid to do because they think it will fail?
What thoughts do you have about this topic? How can we begin to look at failure as the “valley of insight?”