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“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”
Henry Ford

This month I failed.

At the end of July, I signed up for Ellory Wells’ 31 Day Writing Challenge with the intent of writing a new blog post every day during the month of August.  I started on the right foot with several new blog posts.  Then the wheels fell off my ride of best intentions during the second week of August, and I’ve struggled to regain momentum since then.  When it comes to the Writing Challenge, I am a failure.

Now, I could give you ten or twenty excuses as to why I failed.  Do those excuses really matter?  The facts are I did not even come close to writing every day in August.  As I look back on August and on my weak efforts during the challenge, I’ve learned a lot.

Here is what I’ve learned as a result of my failure.

4 Lessons From My Recent Failure

  1. Intentions do not automatically translate into success.  I have great intentions when it comes to a lot of things in my life.  Unfortunately, I fall short in many of these areas of intention.
  2. Our actual actions indicate the reality of our priorities.  My words in late July indicated that I wanted to make writing blog posts a priority; however, my writing output shows I may have let other things have a greater place in my priority pyramid.  My family went on vacation to the Jersey Shore during the second week of August, and this trip was a priority for me.  My job has required a lot of attention this month, and this was an important and necessary area of focus for me in August.  Finally, I noticed that my fitness and overall health had slipped a little bit over the past few months.  In the second half of August, I took steps to make my fitness and nutrition more of a priority.
  3. Accountability is essential to achieving the results we desire.  I’m independent and self-motivated, but I need people in my life who will give me an encouraging word or a swift kick in the butt from time to time.  I rely heavily on my wife, the guys in my small group, a few of my co-workers, and the people in my mastermind groups.  They remind me to stay on track.  They encourage me when I’m feeling discouraged.  And they won’t let me wander off course for very long.
  4. It’s never too late to start over.  When we experience failure in our lives, we have a couple of choices.  We can let our failure define us.  Or we can use our failures to motivate us.  I’m making the second choice.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

How have you responded to failure in your life?  What lessons have you learned from your failures?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

5 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUTLEADERSHIP WHEN THE DRESS CODE CHANGED

I was shocked last week when my boss forwarded an email to me from our area manager indicating that the dress code for managers and salespeople in our area was being relaxed for the summer months (June 1st thru September 30th).  I am no longer required to wear a tie Monday thru Thursday during this time period.  In his memo, our area manager stated that he had reconsidered his long-held stance on more formal attire after reviewing the acceptable social norms in the industry.

Ties have been a requirement for managers and salespeople for years, and I honestly did not expect this news.

Thanks to my area manager’s memo, I learned somethings about leadership:

5 Things I Learned About Leadership When The Dress Code Changed

  1. Leaders requires flexibility.  Our area manager could have kept things the way they have always been.  Instead, he adapted.  Flexibility in leadership keeps your business headed in the right direction especially when business currents change directions.  Don’t get so stuck in your ways that you miss opportunities to take your organization to a better place.
  2. Leaders lead best when they give and take.  Our area manager gave into a long-standing “tradition”.  In return, he got more respect from his team.  There are trade-offs in business when it comes to leadership.  If you want to take your leadership to the next level, learn to make these trade-offs.
  3. Leaders must be aware.  Our area manager was paying attention to the industry, and he noticed that ties were no longer the norm during the summer.  If you want to be a great leader, pay attention to what is going on around you.  Visit your customers.  Watch your competitors.  Learn.  And learn some more.
  4. Leaders understand how the little things matter.  A tie is a little piece of fabric that hangs around ones neck.  It’s a simple thing, but it meant so much to many of the employees impacted by the simple change to the dress code policy.  If you want to become a better leader, find ways to impact your employees through simple actions.
  5. Leaders listen.  Employees have been asking for a relaxation of the dress code during the summer for a few years, and our area manager listened.  If you want to improve your leadership, take time to listen to your team.

While my ties will miss getting out of the closet the next few months, I’m happy to give my neck a break.

What’s the dress code at your place of employment?  What changes would you like to see in the dress code?  Share your thoughts in the comments.