Many of you know Sherry Surratt for the incredible work that she does as the CEO and President of MOPS International. For those of you who don’t all ready know her, we wanted to make an introduction and share some of her wisdom to get you acquainted. We are so excited that she will be with us at Orange Conference 2015 and leading the breakout session “Understanding the Parents of Preschooler.” You can learn more from Sherry on her website, “Of Moms and Leaders,” where this article was originally posted. Find her on Twitter and Facebook or pick up one of the three books she’s written/cowritten; Just Lead, Brave Mom and Beautiful Mess.
I hate that miserable feeling in my gut when I know I’ve messed up. It rises from a hard knot of realization in my stomach, creeping all the way up to my neck where it sits like a hot, itchy scarf making me miserable. Disappointment. Embarrassment. Regret.
I don’t want to feel these things.
But I do.
I know I’m not perfect. Of course I’ll make mistakes, who doesn’t? I’ll miss some deadlines. I’ll speak too harshly or make a bad decision. I’ll forget an important date or meeting. I’ll hurt someone’s feelings. I’ll drop the ball.
As a leader, the big question is not will I make a mistake, but rather what will I choose to do after I make it?
Depending on how big the mistake is, sometimes just a quick cleanup or apology will do. Then, we can forge ahead. But sometimes the mess is bigger and has lasting implications. Did we hurt someone or damage a relationship? Did we cause a painful situation that now others have to deal with?
Even after many years in leadership, I feel I’m still growing in this process. As a leader I’ve been given responsibility. This means I have to own up to what I’ve done even when it’s less than wonderful and I’d rather not face it. I can’t let myself get stuck in regret or shame, but I need to focus on the action that moves me forward.
Here are some questions I ask myself:
- Have I admitted my mistake to those it affected and accepted responsibility?
- Have I given a sincere heartfelt apology to those who needed it?
- Is there action I can take today to help make the situation better?
- Have I given the situation over to God and forgiven myself for not being perfect?
- Have I taken stock of what I learned from the mistake and used it to make me better?
Here’s what else I’m learning: simmering in the stew of ‘I wish I hadn’t done that’ keeps me and others stuck in my mistake. I can’t take those words back or undo that decision and ruminating over it doesn’t do anybody any good. And I know from what God says that he doesn’t want me to get stuck here either. He loves me and he loves you too. Even through our mistakes.
But sometimes, even when we apologize or try to make it better, it doesn’t totally fix it. It’s still there. In the air. Awkward.
Sisters, there are times when you have to do your best and then hold God’s hand tight and move on.
So how about you? As a mom or a leader, do your thoughts trail back to a past mistake that still plagues your memory? Are you already wishing for a do-over this year in your leadership or as a mom? Let me encourage you to use the questions above as a start. Think about what you have learned and how you can put it to work. Don’t let a present or past mistake define you, but step into the awesome future God has for you. He’s crazy about you!
“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
1 John 3:1
Isn’t that an awesome source of encouragement? We are so thankful for Sherry and the wisdom she share to those of us in the lives of little ones! Be sure to connect with Sherry and continue to learn and grow!