You Failed Yourself, Now What?

It hurts bad when you let yourself down! Especially when it affects people you value.

I was in a meeting with organizational leaders…a common situation. It seemed like it went fine. I knew that I had misspoken a couple times…I wasn’t flawless by any means. I read enough body language to know that I had missed the mark on one particular comment, but I was assured that it wasn’t a big deal and that everything had gone well.

Through informal back channels I learned that my mistakes were bigger than I perceived. To most people the mistakes were innocuous, but they were mistakes and they were MY mistakes. A few people were appropriately bothered.

I didn’t live up to my values and I certainly didn’t live out my purpose.

So, how do I learn and grow?



What went wrong?


Who was harmed?

What is the impact?

What should I do now?

What should I do differently in the future?



Reflection helped me understand what went wrong, who was harmed, and why.

I apologized for my mistakes to the people affected, now it’s time learn and grow.


I didn’t adequately prep. I was too casual. Some people like that I am casual, with preparation I believe I can maintain that feel while making sure that my word choice and anecdotes/examples are more appropriate.

Only through careful preparation can we uncover the unconscious biases that might emerge in our language. While I believe certain things, from time to time I contradict those beliefs through the examples and words I choose. I can avoid these missteps through preparation.

What’s Next?

I generally know when these situations are coming. I need to make sure I carve out adequate preparation time. I need to make sure I give my thoughts/plans enough time to bake so that I can refine them…fully bake them. I find that when I do this I realize things that I have missed. The cake gets better to stick with that analogy.

We all need to be willing to take feedback/criticism, reflect, learn, and grow.

None of us are above this if we want to maximize our potential and fulfill our purpose.

I am grateful for this lesson and I pray that I will be better in the future.

The foundation of both growth and leadership is self-awareness…not coincidentally. I am now more self-aware and am better prepared to pursue my purpose moving forward.

How about you?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s