Failing For Success

As a leader in ministry one of my favorite things to do is read books on leadership.  While reading leadership books over time I have come across a particular leadership principle in many books.

Leaders need to set others up for success.  

Any one who has read leadership books has read this principle.  I have never met a leader who disagrees with it.  After all, we don’t want those under us or around us to fail, do we?  So common sense tells us we should set others up for success.  Not set them up for failure.

Obviously I don’t think we should set others up to fail.  But I do believe we should allow others room for failure.  We can set others up for success all day long.  And we should do our best to do that.  However, we must also give others the space and freedom to fail.  Others, including ourselves, cannot succeed with out failing along the way.

While serving in youth ministry for 6 years and working as an RA at a college for a year, I have observed parents that were terrified to let their kids fail.  We call them helicopter parents.  But if youth, students, kids, whatever you want to call them are going to live successfully they must be given the freedom to fail.

If volunteers in a church or any other setting are going to develop into the leaders God wants them to be, they must have the room to fail.

As a wife or a husband, you need space to fail.

As a leader, you need space to fail.

As we serve, work, and live with other around us, we should carefully point others in the right direction.  We should do our best to set them up for success.  But we must also let them fail along the way. When leveraged correctly failure leads to success.   

While we must allow others the space to fail, when they do fail, we must extend grace.  Speak truth in love.  And provide wisdom to the teachable.

We live in a success driven nation.  Success is a good thing.  God wants us to succeed.   But God also knows we will fail, a lot, through out our lives.  Thankfully we serve a graceful, patient, and wise God.

We can strive for success over the course of our lives.  We can push others to succeed.  But we must learn to embrace failures as much as we embrace success.  If you have no failure, you have no success. 

Failing is part of the journey to reaching the success that God desires for us.  Failing is never fun.  Most of the time failure is frustrating, discouraging, and can make us want to hang up our boots and call it quits.   But we must learn to fail forward.  We can allow our failures to hold us back or we can leverage them to our advantage.

Aim for success.  Know you will fail along the way.  Be teachable when you do fail.  Extend grace to yourself.  Then you will be back on track for success.

P.J.

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