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I could not take myself off my deck this morning.


I was too mesmerized in watching the sunrise change the colors of the leaves of the enormous trees just off my left

In the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to get up and start “righting” the “wrongs” that had transpired the past week.


But I couldn’t.


I could not move.


I felt called to just sit and be still.   I knew I was sitting right where I needed to be sitting.  So, I did not move.  I sat right where I was.  Enjoying the sunrise, sipping my coffee, listening to birds, finishing my devotional and journaling time …and allowing purposeful reflection.


The world wasn’t going anywhere.  It would be waiting for me regardless of what time I got out of my chair to turn my attention to it.  In fact, after a whirl-wind week of closing on a new house, managing contractors, wrangling movers as they packed my old house, moving, and closing on my new house, some extra time for personal reflection was exactly what I needed to reset my focus.


The time this morning allowed me to reflect on the importance of self-grace and how embracing that practice allows me to learn from my mistakes and create a new future.


Over the past 6-days, I successfully moved but have managed to “flop” as a fiancée, future stepmother, aunt, daughter, friend, future daughter-in-law, and sister …and, let’s not forget about my work hat.  I also “failed” as a salesperson, a client project leader, and as a CEO.   If I really want to be truthful, I even dropped the ball on myself with not even getting in one workout, albeit moving umpteen boxes up and downstairs for 4 days probably counts!


Some of the list I knew that I was coming up short in the moment that it was happening, but others came to light upon my purposeful reflection this morning.


We all go through times where we disappoint not only others but ourselves.  What is important is how we learn to manage ourselves as a result of that time.


Let’s take my “failure” as a salesperson that I referenced earlier.  Last week a prospective client I was courting for about six months finally reached out asking for a change management workshop at the end of August. We played a bit of email tag trying to get on each other’s calendar.


She never responded to my last email and I simply got lost in my move and forgot to do another followup.   When I finally got some email catch up time yesterday, I sent her another email.


She had moved on and found another solution.  I single-handedly lost the opportunity.


I failed.


At first glance, it is easy to see where I failed – I should have reached out again or better yet, simply picked up the phone instead of relying on email.  I was furious at myself yesterday.


But, thanks to my purposeful reflection time this morning, I am taking a different approach.  I gave myself grace.  Life happens.


It is impossible to be all things at all times – something is bound to slip, and I am human.  It is what I do with that slip that matters.  Instead of focusing on that easy fix – “just pick up the phone next time, d” – a more significant solution came to mind.  I wondered why I didn’t ask my team for help.  I could have replied to the first email and cc’d one or two of my team members, and they could have served the client immediately!


So why didn’t I?


They had enough on their plate, picking up some extra responsibilities lately due to some team changes.  I didn’t want to add more to it.   I took on their “no” without giving them the opportunity to say “yes” or “no” on their own.  Upon reflection, my guess is that they would have loved the opportunity …and no doubt would have delighted the customer and shined by closing the deal on their own.


My pause this morning brought clarity that my biggest failure was actually not as a salesperson, but as a leader.


Instead of sulking, I have hope!  I’m actually EXCITED for my learning …I can’t wait for the opportunity to arise again so I can put the learning to good use and give my team the opportunity to shine.


Without my purposeful reflection time, I would have only focused on my failure as a salesperson. I would not have given myself grace; I would have stayed annoyed at myself this week or even month.  I would not have learned the real lesson that makes me a better CEO and leader of my team.


It is vital that we take time to pause for purposeful reflection.  We have to stop insisting that we keep up with the world’s timing, Slowing down allows us to go fast. We must create our own rhythms that give us the space to reflect, sit in grace, and emerge a better version of ourselves.


When you exhibit grace for yourself, it is easier to learn because you are not afraid to explore where you went wrong. Rather than judging yourself, you are improving yourself.  Self-discovery is the gateway to becoming the best version of yourself.


Our setbacks are much less important than what we learn from our setbacks. What might appear to be “a failure” in the front end is almost always a tremendous learning opportunity.


In closing, I will also sheepishly reveal that my “fail” as a client project leader was this “d’s Dispatch.”   They are due before the first of every month …and well, I’m clearly late.   But upon reflection, I’m grateful.   Missing the deadline,  was the inspiration for sitting down this morning to write on this topic.   I am hoping my “miss” turns into a “win” for each of you!

I encourage you to take pause this week to marvel how the sun can change a leaf from hunter green to emerald green to an orange green to a lime green… and just see where your mind takes you.   Grab a journal and a pen while you are at it …where do you need to give yourself grace?  What can you learn?  Where do you have hope for your future?

Author Doreen Linneman

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