Thomas Watson, the founder of IBM once said, “The way to succeed is to double your failure rate.” It is said that Thomas Edison worked on 10,000 different experiments to find the right filament for the light bulb. He started in early 1878 and on October 21, 1879, almost two years later the first incandescent light bulb was born. Edison understood that failure was the pathway to success. Edison believed that he needed to discover what did not work in order to get closer to what did work. His theory believed in failure as a part of the process to success. For some reason we tend to see failure as a failing – I do not believe we should – mainly because I do not believe God does. (Why do I believe this? Because nowhere in His word did He hide the failures of His children.)
I like what Winston Churchill once said, “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” And Solomon said it this way, “…for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” (Proverbs 24:16a) How does this apply to you and me as leaders today? We can project ourselves as a leader, one who is the ideal. Without always realizing it, we can become polished versions of the super Christian, the super pastor, or the super marketplace leader. We then need to project always being happy, always being well-adjusted, always being in faith, always overcoming every temptation or failure. We must feverishly protect our fragile esteem and our image of leader at all cost. Whether trying it or not, owning up to it or not we are saying, “be perfect like me, have my faith – and if I am doing it, certainly I can expect you to.” Take a deep breath and enjoy today along with the mistakes made by yourself and those around you. Allow them to be lessons learned toward success.