Getting back up is living #50: 2013
I read this quote on a bill board several weeks ago as I dashed through Toronto, and with a new year on the horizon it still has me thinking.
Making mistakes or falling down is just part of life and being a leader. Just think of Edison – how many attempts did it take for him to invent the light bulb? The real learning comes when you get back up, dust yourself off, and keep going; that is where lifelong learning happens and where living really begins.
There comes a time, when you begin to give yourself permission to make mistakes and not beat yourself up about it – after all in library land we aren’t doing brain surgery. Perhaps this comes with experience, confidence and freedom to make the best decision possible and then simply move ahead. This opens the door to the possibility that you have made the wrong decision but, also the courage and self-confidence to own it, deal with the criticism or disappointment, and try again.
I would be the first to admit that not all library environments can or will tolerate mistakes. You know the kind – the ones that study an idea or project to death, with a million “what if” scenarios. So by the time staff get to the implementation phase, they are exhausted. The real issue is not the falling down or the failure, the real issue is not learning from the experience.
So, what questions should you ask if you are facing a setback or failure?
- Go back to the very beginning of the idea or project….what was driving your decision making process at that time?
- What was the tipping point? Why did you say yes?
- What would you do differently? What have you learned?
- In ten years, how would you describe the situation?
As a great leader, at home and at work, you need to create an environment where mistakes can happen and learning can flourish. Falling down is a part of life, but getting back up is living.
Kitty Pope #50 December 2013