i’m thankful for mistakes
More specifically, i’m thankful to have the opportunity to make mistakes.
Just in the past month, I said the wrong thing in a board meeting. Sent a few emails that I could have thought through better. Scraped someone’s car in a tight parking lot. Messed up last night’s Video Pop dance (and threw everyone else off in the process).
I’m superb at making mistakes. and I’m really proud of it.
“I hope you find God’s grace in every mistake
And always give more than you take.”
One of my favorite memories from college came from a weeklong leadership retreat called LeaderShape. We had an alumni panel, and I, being a young and impressionable 19-year-old, was rapt with attention.
His name escapes me now, but the story he told I’ll never forget.
”I went in for a job interview with a commercial real estate firm, at a time when real estate was a good ol’ boys club of white males.” [he’s black] “The man grilled me, clearly thinking I was over my head. He had made up his mind that I was too young, that I was a football-playing jock with no future in his world. That I didn’t look like him.”
The interviewer asked him, “I can’t give you this job. You’re just a kid straight off the school football team. How do I know you won’t make a mistake?”
And his reply, still crystal clear in my mind: “Sir, with all due respect, how old were you when you stopped making mistakes? Because you’re right. I will make mistakes. I make mistakes all the time. But I hope that I learn from them and move on from them and make them right all the same.”
[he got the offer]
Ethan and I were talking yesterday about perfection. Ethan has an intelligent & beautiful wife and a brand-new, absolutely adorable baby boy. He is smart, successful, kind to his bones, and the kind of friend everyone wants to have. He & Laura are shining examples of God working through people.
So I’m a little bit obsessed with this photo & a lot bit obsessed with this family.
It’s easy to resent people like that. It’s easy to write him off as someone who does everything right, has everything in the world.
But why I love Ethan is because he works for everything. He acknowledges that not everything will go perfectly, but works to make it perfect in its own right anyway.
He isn’t afraid of imperfect circumstances, because he learns from every experience he has.
This Thanksgiving, what I am thankful for is the opportunity to make mistakes and not be crushed by them. Whether those mistakes have financial implications, or career implications, or (when you do what I do) health & safety implications, I am thankful to have the support and structure around me to be able to recover from them before the consequences turn dire.
I am thankful to be surrounded by people like Ethan, who understand that people need to make mistakes, without letting them fail because of it. Who understand that if you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t doing anything.
People who are doing something.
People who are enabling the world.