Posts Tagged ‘success’

I recently was evaluating my life and the journey it has brought me through.  I thought about the moments that I felt like I had failed, which led me to the question, “Did I Fail?”

The truth is I have made some very dumb decisions.  I have hurt others by my decisions and I have let a lot of people down.  Like the time I tried to get a volunteer to resign from her position.  I came up with a plan that would give her some time off.  My hopes were that she would enjoy the time off and come and resign to me.  Not a good idea.  After the “time off” was over, she was ready to get right back in, and she did.  After a few weeks of avoiding her calls and hoping for a good ending, I had to talk with her.

The conversation did not go well.  I listened, for what seemed like hours, about how I was a poor leader and I needed to be honest upfront, even if it was going to hurt.  I felt horrible.  She was right, she deserved better and I let her down.

If the story ended there, I would say I failed.  However, because of that blunder, I committed to myself to learn from this and become a better leader.  That moment hurt her and some others, but because of that, it helped shape my character.  Today, I make difficult decisions, but I am honest and clear about the decision.

I believe failure is when you refuse to allow your character defects to teach you to become a better person.  Don’t be a failure, learn and correct.  I learned a valuable lesson at the expense of someone else, but I am glad I learned the lesson.

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failureA few weeks back I asked this question on my facebook, “What does failure look like?”  Within seconds I started receiving a number of responses.  Here are a few of my thoughts on what failure looks like based on the responses I received.

  1. Failure is objective.  Eric Thomure added this, “depends on what success looks like”.  How true.  We have no idea if we are successful if we have no benchmark of success.
  2. Failure is strongly connected to emotion.  It is amazing how many can feel like a failure on Monday and feel like a success on Tuesday, and nothing has changed between the two days.  Emotions change, and as they change, the feeling of being a failure can move up or down in direct proportion of our emotions.
  3. You can fail.  Wow! If you are given a simple task that you are capable of performing, you can fail (look at #1).  However, failing at a simple task does no make us a failure!
  4. Blending the lines of failure is VERY DANGEROUS.    It is possible to fail at simple tasks.  However, failing at a task does not make me a failure as a dad, husband or even a man.  Another way to say this,  “perspective is everything.”  Loosing a job or missing that golden opportunity is very painful, but don’t blend the lines of who you are as a creation of God with difficult situations.  If you do, it can be devastating to you and to those around you.
  5. Failures increase your wisdom.  The Bible connects gray hair with wisdom.  Gray haired individuals have been around a while, they have incredible perspective.  They have gained wisdom through their failures and success’.  I am sure if asked they would tell you their failures in life helped shape who they are and they really were not failures.
  6. Failure shows  you were willing to try.  There are only 2 people that walked on water.  Jesus and Peter.  Peter gets ridiculed a lot, for getting his eyes off of Jesus and sinking.  However, he was the only one to get out of the boat and try!  Everyone else stayed in the safe dry boat.

I leave you with a response from a friend who went through a very dark time.  Listen to this response…  “you’ve been taught that “all things are possible through Christ” but yet you’ve encountered an impossible situation.  You feel like all is lost.  We must remember tho that when Christ died on the cross – it looked like failure…however, it was really the beginning of everything God wanted to do for mankind.  I think we have to be careful not to judge “our” failure and look instead for what God is doing in us.  Hope is extremely powerful!!!!  It snuffs out failure every time.”

1212912_38514992Business is good when the growth chart shows “up and to the right”.  There may be some decline at various places but over all the chart moves up and to the right.  Looking at such a chart, whether it be the stock market, profits, or even church growth, we get a sense of success and everyone feels good.

However, lately, I have been charting my life, my personal life.  I gotta say, it doesn’t look like the “up and to the right” success model.  I have found a lot more downs than I have ups.  My chart looked like the scribblings of a polygraph test.  I must admit, this was pretty discouraging.  I started to feel like a failure.  The chart doesn’t lie and that must be proof. Until…

I started charting some of the life charts of hero’s in the Bible.  I charted Joseph, Jacob, David, Peter and even Jesus.  Here is what I found out…none of their charts were up and to the right.  They are all different.  Just look at Joseph…Dads favorite (up), brother hated him and decided to kill him (way down), brothers didn’t kill him (up a little), instead sold him as a slave (down), became Potiphar’s trusted servant (up), falsely accused and put in prison (way down), became the head prisoner (up), interpreted a dream of the baker and cup bearer which came true (up), cup bearer forgot about Joseph (down), Pharaoh has dream and is interpreted by Joseph (up), Joseph elevated to second in command (way up), and finally he was reunited with his brothers and father (way up).  Joseph spent more time down than he did up.  However, God had a plan and it the process was part of the plan.  If you were to ask Joseph, if he could change anything of his past, I am sure he would say, NO.  Because it was worth it all.

God’s view of success is not “up and to the right” and neither should ours.  Be encouraged, you are in the process.  The one thing everyone had in common was the chart went WAY UP when Gods purpose was fulfilled.  God has a purpose, enjoy the process and your chart will sky-rocket when you have fulfilled Gods purpose.

I recently read an article by Sam Chand asking the question; Would you rather be successful or fulfilled?  Interesting question.  Which one would you like for your life?  If you answer honestly you would say, both.  We each desire both success and fulfillment.  Here is a brief rundown of the differences:

  1. Success is external, fulfillment is internal
  2. Success is measurable, fulfillment is hard to measure
  3. Success is temporal; fulfillment is eternal
  4. Success you work for; fulfillment you live for
  5. Success is taught; fulfillment is learned

Both are good but fulfillment is preferred over success.

denver-broncos-headAs you may have heard in the news (if you follow sports) the Broncos received a new coach,  the youngest coach in the NFL, Josh McDaniels.  Ever since he arrived in Denver it has been a hiring and firing frenzy.  So much so, it has become a routine in the morning to 1) check and see if it snowed outside and 2) check the latest news of the Broncos.

As I thought about the new coach, I started thinking about how similar pastoring is to coaching.  Especially how it relates to being the new guy coming into an established organization and following a guy who was there for a long time.  I can relate to Josh McDaniels.  I can relate to his desire to “turn the ship” and turn it as quickly as possible.  I can relate to seeing trouble spots and wanting to fix them, NOW!  I can relate to the desire to follow my dream.  I can relate to the frustration of why others don’t see it my way.  I can relate to the desire to prove yourself so others will get behind you.  I understand a lot of things that are going through his head and heart.

We live in a world that oozes pressure to succeed, and FAST.  Coaches are given a few years to “succeed” or they will be replaced.  That same attitude has leaked into the church world as well.  Churches are  looking for the next Bill Hybels or Rick Warren.  The pressure for pastors to succeed are high and if the numbers don’t go up and the dollars don’t increase, churches will find someone who can do it.  The pressure is extreme and there are obvious results to this pressure.  Look at some of these results from http://lamintl.org/Pastor_Statistics.aspx:

  1. Fifteen hundred pastors leave the ministry each month due to moral failure, spiritual burnout or contention in their churches.
  2. Eighty percent of pastors and eighty-four percent of their spouses feel unqualified and discouraged in their role as pastors.
  3. Fifty percent of pastors are so discouraged that they would leave the ministry if they could, but have no other way of making a living.
  4. Ninety percent said the hardest thing about ministry is dealing with uncooperative people.

Pastor all around the globe need prayer and support.  They need encouragement.  They want to feel like they are making a difference.  The primary source of news that pastors are hearing is typically not good news.  If a pastor has made a difference in your life, send him an email, send him a letter or just give him or her a call.  GIVE YOUR PASTOR SOME GOOD NEWS.  Success is being used by God to change the eternal destiny of another.  That is why a pastor chose this path a long time ago…to lead others to Christ.

As far as Josh McDaniels and the Broncos, the NFL and Denver is about wins and superbowls.  McDaniels is making a lot of changes.  Two years from now, he will either be a hero or a zero.  Only time will tell!!!!!