I believe that there is one key leadership component missing in the world today. It may be the very thing that is holding you back from success, accomplishment, or improvement. I wish I could say that everyone is doing exactly what they need to do to reach their goals and dreams, but something is lacking – something very big – and until it is recognized, you will forever remain searching for the reason you feel stuck.
The leadership component about which I am speaking is facing and accepting the truth, and not placing blame on other people or situations.
Everyone would like to believe that they have full control of their lives. They set goals and work toward them, and in some cases, they achieve. But, what if there is more? What if they have limited themselves to smaller success than they deserve? That is because they have not yet taken responsibility for who they are, and who they want to be.
In martial arts, I would love it if I was considered an amazing practitioner, better than all the rest! In writing, it would be awesome if I was an expert, making millions of dollars! In life, I would love to say that I have reached the peak of what I need to know and did not have to worry about ever learning another thing! Grandiose dreams are nice to have, but they are often inaccurate and unfulfilling, and not the truth.
While I encourage everyone to believe in themselves, this self-belief includes an element of self-analysis and reflection on where you are today, and where you need or want to go. This process requires you to identify your weaknesses, flaws, and mistakes, so you can learn from them and grow. Once you realize that mistakes have a purpose and they are not meant to destroy or deter you, a whole new world will open up for you.
In front of martial art class while teaching recently, I stopped in the middle of a pattern of movements to address an issue, and then forgot where I was. I had to apologize to the class and send them back to the beginning. I could have made up excuses why I forgot where I was, but all I needed to say was the truth. I forgot where I was.
The truth will gain you more respect than almost anything. If you can agree that you made a mistake, everyone, including you, can move past it quickly. When you decide to start placing blame upon situations or others, it will drag everyone down. Your students, friends, or family will realize that all you care about is you, and figuring out how to make it seem like you never make mistakes.
Every person can face the truth and make it work in their favor. Mistakes are going to happen. After all, we are human and fallible. Here are some ways to gracefully face the truth and make it work in your favor:
- RESPECT. People respect a person who can accept their mistakes and not make excuses.
- GROWTH. Every mistake offers the possibility to grow and learn.
- CONFIDENCE. If you can admit to a mistake, you have a good sense of self-confidence. You believe in yourself enough to know that mistakes will happen, but they do not change who you are.
- POSITIVITY. You will not live your life focused on mistakes, but instead focused on the positive.
- CHANGE. The only constant thing that there is in life is change. Be truthful with yourself and understand that all change, even when challenging, can be positive in the long run.
- FORGIVENESS. Are you still holding a grudge over a mistake, issue, or confrontation that happened a long time ago? Be wise enough to know that you may have contributed to the situation. Forgiving a person may bring them to forgive you, all of which can bring balance back to your life.
- LEADERSHIP. Would you rather have a boss who covers up his mistakes or blames others, or one who faces the truth and addresses it with dignity and self-awareness? Apply this to your life.
- LOVE. Do you truly love someone? Then recognize that love has its ups and downs and if you face that truth, you will find an everlasting commitment and dedication in your relationship.
- ANGER. If you are angry, face the truth about the source of your anger, and give it time to subside before taking any actions or making any decisions. The truth that is revealed may indicate that you have overreacted and your anger has no true merit.
- APPRECIATION. Recognize that others have contributed a lot of good things to your life! No success is ever achieved without the support and encouragement of others.
The truth is probably one of the most difficult things we ever have to face. Do not avoid dealing with your mistakes. Understand that there is always a bit of blame that you can place on yourself, which is a stepping stone to positive self-improvement. Others will respect you because you are, in essence, a team player who recognizes that everyone’s contributions – and mistakes – matter.
I am not implying that it is easy to accept the truth as it unfolds, but I do know one thing. You will lift a heavy burden off of your shoulders if you have always believed that you are not allowed to make mistakes. In many ways, recognizing and dealing with your mistakes, and your truths, is a lot more efficient than placing blame or covering up.
I know this has been said before, and I mightily agree. The truth will set you free.