Have you ever misplaced your cell phone? If so, do you remember the panic in the pit of your stomach? The worry about hundreds of dollars not only disappearing once, but a second time when you buy the next one?
Welcome back to our Lessons from the Farm series. For the month of April I have been blogging about leadership lessons I learned from the farm. If you’d like to catch up, click here to read one of my favorite posts from last year, or click here to read some from this year. You can also subscribe to make certain you don’t miss a post.
I still remember losing my first phone. I had moved back and been working on the farm for a less than a year, when it happened. I was in a corral loading cattle on the truck with my phone in my pocket, and I went to get in the truck and my phone was not in my pocket.
I spent what felt like an eternity retracing my steps, hoping against hope to find my beloved Nokia (that’s right, it’s been a while). But the reality was if it had fallen out in the corral, it was likely buried under a mixture of dirt and dried manure, fully trampled by a sufficient number of 750 pound cattle. If it had fallen out while driving a 4 wheeler, it was anywhere over the span of about 2 square miles.
The feeling as I pulled out that day still sticks with me. I was in mourning over the loss. That may seem melodramatic, but we’ve all been there.
The leadership lesson? Things will go wrong. You will lose church members, or an important client, or a key business account. You will make a mistake and worry about where you went wrong and what you could have done differently. And that’s okay. It’s natural, even.
But leadership means you have to get in the truck and move forward. The business of the day doesn’t stop because you need to take a break. Mourn the loss, grieve the mistake, learn from it for next time, but avoid the temptation to dwell on it.
I could have spent all day looking for my phone. And I have heard stories of people who keep looking and find it. But sometimes we have to cut our losses so we can maintain our gains.
What loss are you mourning right now? Are you still dwelling on it? If so, take steps forward. Learn from it. Let it shape how you approach situations differently the next time. I took much better care of my next phone, believe me. Do the same in your leadership.