Being a leader has its merits. You get to call the shots. You get to set the goals and expectations. And when the results come, you are handsomely rewarded.
But being a leader also comes with a great deal of responsibility. If an initiative fails, you don’t get the credit and, worse, you do get the blame. My mentor John C. Maxwell says, “When you get kicked in the pants, you know you’re out in front.” While leading a team and initiatives is engaging and exciting; being responsible for the results can truly feel like a kick in the pants.
The responsibility factor is one that sets fear in many, because they know that with a higher position comes greater responsibility. And so many settle for less than their best in life.
If fear of failure is holding you back, let me put your mind at ease. You WILL fail.
But let me also say that if you fail, it is because you actually tried something.
The key in all of this is what you do next. What do you do after the kick in the pants?
Do you quit, give up, or point the finger at others?
Or do you stand back up and try again?
Great leaders know how to respond to the proverbial kicks in the pants of life.
Pause to catch your breath.
It’s okay to feel the failure and absorb the shock. But move through this phase quickly.
Assess the damage.
If you fall, one of the first things you should do is get a doctor to assess the damage. You don’t want to ignore a broken bone, for example, because though it will heal, it will not heal properly. If there is damage, address it first.
Note what went wrong and what went right. This is the turning point, the point at which you learn from mistakes. Those who skip this step continue to repeat the same mistakes over and over.
Think through new possibilities. Work with your team to create a new plan based on what you’ve learned from the experience.
Start again. This is where fear of failure will once again rear its ugly head. Ignore it. If you have completed the steps above, you are ready to move forward.
Have you experienced a swift kick in the pants lately? Congratulations! You’re out in front.