This week has been one for celebrating growth, so far as failure brings growth when embraced and learned from. I can’t say I am excited about having had the opportunity to grow so much in such a short period of time. Truth be told, it wasn’t so much the number of failures but the magnitude and unexpectedness of them. One major event late last week came completely out of the blue as my reaction to an adversity I have made pains to accept turned to rage and anger at the injustice of it and my inability to correctly cope with it. The problem wasn’t so much the surface problem as it was my response and my absolutely poor reaction to it. I was mad at the issue, I was mad at God and I was mad at myself for being mad about it. As a result, I overreacted and pushed myself into a bad state. The second incident was related to the first and was in response to how I handled failing the first time. This second time, I overreacted the other direction and forced myself beyond what was necessary to justify that I had picked myself up and resolved to be better. It was classic “as God as my witness, I’ll never drink again” syndrome. I went so far the other direction, however, that I lost perspective on how to healthily deal with the issues at hand.
The third incident was more minor, but annoyingly familiar. I began trudging through my work week when I realized that not only had I forgotten some of the things I had scheduled to do, but I completely messed up my schedule going forward by double and triple booking my time. It happened pretty much by negligence, but it caused an undue amount of stress, a lot of apologizing and several late nights to fix. In conjunction with that, I realized that not only had I failed to file some paperwork that needed to be in, but I also forgot to book my upcoming travel, again causing stress and a little bit of panic. To make it more interesting, I had even more things pile onto the mess that already was my plans and caused churn yet again.
The last set of incidents were also largely self-inflicted and revolved around my desire to cram more training and new technology into an already overcrowded life. Between studies and equipment setup, I lost even more time that would have been better used on other projects.
So, what did I learn in all of this, you ask? Well, the first thing I learned was that I have a lot of things I can learn from this. That sounds a little trite, but if you look at failure and missteps without looking for what you can learn from it, you lose yet another opportunity for growth. In no particular order, here are some of the other things I learned.
- I really need to take the time to integrate all of my calendars in a single master calendar available to me on my phone on demand.
- I need to start putting due dates on my calendar and I need to do the nearest things first, not the easiest.
- I need to do my paperwork as soon as things are completed and I need to book my trips as soon as they are scheduled.
- I need to accept and understand the fact that getting angry is not failure, but responding poorly can be. Accordingly, I need to decide when I am not in the moment how I will respond. If I respond in the moment, it’ll probably be wrong.
- God doesn’t hate us for getting upset, angry and even responding wrong. He loves us and wants to show us more about Himself, His strength, and His ability to work miracles when we are at our weakest and our lowest. He is big enough to handle our questions and our rants and regardless of how things appear to us or how events unfold, He is good.
- I need to understand and accept the fact that bottling up frustration and trying to tough it out is ultimately setting me up for failure. I need to reach out before it gets critical, not after.
- Finally, I need to remember my own advice in earlier posts and choose to be at peace and at rest during the churn.
One of my former bosses used to say, “you have to go slow sometimes to go fast”. By that he meant that in stressful and tense situations, you need to calm yourself down so that your mind can process how best to act, rather than your gut dictating how you react. I always appreciated that line, and, this week, I better understood it.