I blew it.
I failed my congregation at one of the most emotionally charged moments of our nation’s history, the 9/11 terrorist attacks. On September 16, just a few days after that horrific event, the sermon I gave was tone deaf. Instead of offering comfort, I challenged and confronted. I warned against over-reaction and made comparisons to internment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor. I knew I had misgauged, when immediately following my message a woman with a clenched fist was in my face before I had even left the stage.
I recovered, but it shook me and set me back in self-confidence for some time.
Failure does that. It deflates the ego and casts uncertainty over the road ahead. But if we play it right, failure is not, ultimately, a bad thing. Failure can be a catalyst that launches us forward into a life of purpose, one in which we find we can make the greatest contribution of our lives.
This is Part One of a series of posts in which I will explore the four major life crises that we all face at some point in our lives. Four watershed moments that can make or break us, depending on how we react to them and what we learn from them.
Those four crises are Failure, Pain, Transition and Disillusionment.
There are three types of failure that disrupt our lives and plunge us into bewilderment.
The first and most common type of failure is the occasional mistake. You choose poorly, misread a situation, miss a deadline, or bungle an assignment. It happens. We’re fallible. It doesn’t have to turn our world upside down. We can grieve it, learn from it, grow and carry on. The good thing about occasional mistakes is that they help us to be mindful about ourselves and THAT is a very good thing. To be forced to sit back and pay attention to our motives and actions is helpful in the long haul. Contemplating the factors surrounding your mistake might awaken you to a new direction your life should take.
The second kind of failure is moral; that is, when you selfishly choose to do a thing that is wrong, illegal or unethical. Moral failure is a product of selfishness. Wanting something so much that you willfully break the rules to get it. Being so self-absorbed that you choose to violate someone else’s rights or desires. Getting caught in moral failure is rightfully devastating. You break it – you own it. But there can also be a silver lining in the destruction once the restitution and reconciliation has been made. If you are suitably broken and sorry for your self-seeking failure, you can begin to see the importance of living with an others-first mindset. You can begin to love and serve others. This is at the heart of living with a sense of calling.
The final type of failure is the sickening realization that the job or career you have engaged in is not a right fit for you. You begin to not only suffer with job performance issues, but your heart is less and less in it. You feel miscast, having pursued your line of work because “it’s what I was told I should do” or “it seemed like good money” or “I couldn’t think of anything else to do with my life.” This type of failure is bewildering. The future is cloudy. Hope is fleeting. And yet, this too can be a catalyst into the some of the best years of your life if you determine to discover your ”why” to live for and look beyond your discontent to your destiny.
For those of you who blow it, who feel defeated and broken, take heart. The future holds tremendous promise if you are willing to be mindful of your life story…how you got here, how you were made, what skills you’ve been given and what passions lie deep within. You have a unique calling on your life. No one else shares your particular purpose. Your destiny lies ahead regardless of how hard you have fallen.
May we at Destinyworks help you pick up the pieces and put them back together with you? This is precisely why we exist…to coach you to a place of incredible contribution, even if the bottom has fallen out of your life.
You might have blown it, but your failure can be redeemed a hundred times over.