One constant in leaders is we all strive to excel in our assignments, projects, and ministries. Oftentimes this means giving 110% in order to deliver a success. We can be focused and driven to a fault. After the deadline tolls and we pull the strands together the winning endeavor proves worthwhile.
What happens, though, when our best efforts result in failure? What if someone is harmed through our actions? How do we cope with whatever degree of responsibility we, as leaders, might hold?
Nobody’s perfect, not even you. We will all suffer setbacks. We need a strategy to deal with them.
Johnny Cash was a highly successful singer and songwriter during his life. He passed away in 2003 after selling over 90 million records and earning multiple honors. Yet by many accounts Johnny Cash was saddled with remorse and tribulation during his later years. This was captured poignantly in the song now known as his epitaph, Hurt. If you have never heard the recording or seen the video below it is a powerful must.
Cash struggled with addiction and other difficulties in his early career but he overcame them. He surrounded himself with family, settling in and strengthening his faith. Yet he still crafted his later releases around sorrow and unworthy redemption as if he still carried those early burdens.
Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth discussing remorse, pain, and distress. There is nothing wrong with those feelings. They are used to jar us into actions that will prevent future mishaps. When they turn us toward God, they serve their purpose. We also recognize we don’t need to hold onto guilty feelings over past missteps because forgiveness is only a prayer away. Regret over a poor decision or an unfavorable outcome is a normal and healthy response. We are instructed to use it in a productive way to get us back on a positive track. Once done there is no more need to hold our shame.
Despite our best leadership efforts we will all make mistakes. Our imperfect humanity guarantees slip-ups. There is no need to let those lapses knock us out of the game or overburden us with sorrow. Harness the emotions and use their energy to improve and we will come out ahead. Then release the weight we are shouldering, accepting the forgiveness available for the asking. Through these steps we will proactively eliminate remorse and get back to our winning ways.