My recent failures & lessons

I’m currently experiencing a lesson in humility. Not just today, it’s really been a month-long lesson that I’m gifted with every year.  The start of school brings many exciting surprises and for my job, tons of work, stress and opportunities. Right now, I’m double busy with work, the kids are busy with school–which means we’re busier with the kids, and I’m tired all of the time.

I’m not at my best right now and I start to make mistakes more regularly and then have to refocus to learn from my failures. I’ve seen some of my opportunities and I’m (eventually) happy to share them with you:

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You can’t do everything.  Earlier this year, my husband and I were talking about the path to becoming an expert and it dawned on me “I love organizing (wait for it), I should share my gift with others!” (that was it).  And I started this blog.  Yes, I’d like to make it the start of my empire (that sounds menacing) and so I made a goal to do a blog post on organizing every week.  As I’ve continued throughout the year, the focus has expanded to healthy living–with organization being a big part of the success for this.  My goal was to do one post every week, which seemed relevant and manageable.

Last week was the first week I didn’t get it done.  I saved it until the last-minute and something else came up.  I thought about it a few times that day.  I even considered staying up late and posting it around 11pm on Saturday.  And then I thought, “What if I don’t do one this week? I don’t have time and it probably won’t be the end of the world.” And I was right.  Seems like a simple conclusion, but it has taken me years to get to this point. I have a hard time remembering that I can’t do everything. No one can.  And that’s ok, I can do some things and I can do them really well.  And that’s ok, too.

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Be slow to anger. I am terrible at this.  Terrible.  And I re-showed it this week.  I need to approach situations like an adult and not allow petty annoyance to encourage me to immediately respond to a situation that needs thought and wisdom.  I can usually remember this, but my patience degrades as my weariness increases.  And now, because I was not slow to anger, I have to fix an even bigger situation that could have been avoided.  Here is the message I need to remember:

Dear Tired Andrea,

It is not in anyone’s best interest for you to make decisions.  Save everyone the trouble and take a nap instead of whatever you think is a good idea right now.  I promise it probably is not a good idea right now.

Your Friend, Andrea

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Confront your problems. We’ve been doing interviews for the last two weeks for student employees in our office.  I love to give students with potential a chance to interview and build their professional skills.  Plus, you never know what kind of treasures you may find in the candidate pool. Recently, we had two candidates show up late for their interview and we don’t interview candidates that are late (we give them 5 minutes of grace period–it’s only a 30 minute interview window). I didn’t want to deal with the issue of telling these students that they didn’t have a chance for the positions now.  It’s so hard! I know they need jobs and I feel sorry for them with this level of disappointment. So one of my staff employees said he’d take care of it. And he did a great, professional job telling the first student “No Interview.”

But for the second late candidate, he had to leave and I had to tell the student employee candidate “No Interview.” Talk about a tough conversation.  But it ended fine.  Yes, it was hard and he was disappointed, but it’s a valuable lesson for him and he’ll never make that mistake again (he even sent me a thank you email a few hours later thanking me for the learning opportunity and our conversation–remember, thank you notes are very important in ALL situations).  I don’t think I would have had the conversation myself with the candidate if my employee hadn’t left–and I needed to confront the issue myself.  I’m better for it.  Remember, it’s refreshing to come out the other side–be brave and confront your issue.

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You can learn from everything.  Ten years ago, I thought I knew everything.  And now, I realize that I don’t know anything and I’m much wiser for it.  It may take me hours, weeks or even years to learn the life lesson in a difficult situation, but I know it’s there and it will eventually dawn on me. I appreciate my life lessons–even if I don’t always like them or want them–because they push me to valuable experiences, a changed world view and a chance to grow and improve. In every situation, there is value–work to see the lessons in your life.

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6 thoughts on “My recent failures & lessons

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