“My bad.” I have found myself thinking this a lot lately and saying it out loud some. This is a period of some brutal self-evaluation for me. Not sure exactly what triggered it but it has nearly consumed me for the past 10 days or so. It is not a fun process, but it is a necessary one. I truly desire to lead well. To lead myself, the ministry leaders in my churches and the churches where I am serving.
The trigger point for this evaluation period is likely the result of a few things that have not gone well, or at least did not go as I had envisioned. After every event, or ministry moment, I attempt to evaluate what went well and what fell below expectations. I am convinced that these evaluations are necessary, but I also acknowledge that often they are not fun experiences.
Recently there have been a series of experiences that though they may have looked okay from a distance, they left much to be desired. These evaluations have led me to think, mutter, say out loud and now write that I did not lead well in these situations.
My first reaction to these realizations was to look for someone to blame. My next realization was that the key person responsible for these less than stellar results was me. Now that was the moment when I should have stood tall, accepted and even embraced the blame and began working to see that the outcomes would be different the next time around. The brutal truth is that instead of standing tall, I shrunk and slipped into some wonderfully miserable self-loathing and pouting.
Not my best moments for sure. I would love to tell you that this is the first time for this type of reaction and behavior on my part. Unfortunately it is not.
In the midst of this wallowing in self-pity God began speaking into my selfishness and to pile on, a book that I had ordered entitled “Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin arrived. This book’s premise is explained clearly in the simple title. It is written by 2 former Navy Seals and they share some real battlefield experiences and the leadership lessons learned that apply in any leadership position. The bottom line is summed up in these quotes from the book: “there can be no leadership where there is no team.” “The only meaningful measure for a leader is whether the team succeeds or fails.” And “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.” Did I mention that I began reading this book while God was digging into my self-pity and excuses? Did I mention that I had been wallowing in the muck of attempting to figure out who messed up in these recent mediocre happenings? Ouch!
I am still reading the book. I am still trying to listen carefully to God’s guiding for me. I am still trying to figure out what to do different next time. But I am taking the first step of recognizing, and confessing that it is “my bad.” I am not seeking pity and I don’t need anyone telling me it wasn’t “my bad”, but I need to come clean and confess that “My name is Dennis and it is my fault.”
Now, it is time to starting climbing out of the muck and get back to leading as God directs and to take ownership of what is happening. It is time to really show loving leadership and figure out how to better communicate and how to be a better example for those around me.