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Gratitude in Adversity

When things don’t go as planned we might feel like failures. In fact, in coaching clients, I find that fear of failure plays a big part in why some leaders don’t try BIG things. Instead they play safe doing what they know THEY can do.

But leaders need to look at adversity, failure, upsets and disappointments with a keener, wiser eye. From everything that goes belly up we can learn something. That’s why it’s important to reflect on what’s been accomplished and not accomplished and to spend time debriefing. The debrief is where we mine for wisdom and give thanks.

This matters because if every failure is just that it wears on the confidence and morale of teams and congregations. However, identifying new learnings and actually choosing to incorporate them in the next attempts can increase one’s capacity to try again and go big! By doing this leaders shape the narrative. To be clear, this isn’t manipulative, it's helpful. The leader transforms failure into learning by giving it its proper meaning. Let’s face it, sometimes it might shine light on areas that are weak in the organization or systems we’ve not shores up. So this isn’t spinning reality, rather we get to say how reality is going to impact us and how we will respond. I’m saying that gratitude is one response.

Another benefit of the debrief and giving thanks is that it allows us to review our own energy, inputs, beliefs about a project. We should always be part of the debrief. How well did I lead? What emotions did I feel throughout the planning? How did I navigate those? Did we have fun? What organizational values were exhibited?

Naming gratitude in adversity is a kind of compassion that speaks to our disappointed or discouraged selves. Furthermore, gratitude as a collective practice can be healing.


Actions Brings Clarity :

Every new learning is something for which to give thanks. What would it look like to collect these learnings at a debrief and pray a prayer of thanks at the end?



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