photo_13170_20090815A friend of mine named Mark sent me this story recently about the former coach of the Washington Redskins, Joe Gibbs. It’s a nice, feel good story about what the coach is doing in his retirement, and I smiled when I read parts of it.

But about a third of the way into the article, a paragraph caught my eye.

“I missed so much of them growing up,” Gibbs says in a quieter voice. “I really messed up there. So I like working with J.D. and Coy. I’m trying not to do the same thing again. With J.D. and Coy, I missed so much. With the grandkids, I try to do something special with them every week.”

If you lead, whether it be a company, a church, a family, a community organization, or whatever, you WILL have regrets.  None of us get it right all the time; none of us leads mistake free.  But how we respond when we recognize our mistakes is crucial.

Gibbs admits that he messed up. He sees with the clarity of hindsight that he did not get this particular part of his life right.  He’s an outstanding leader by most accounts, winning three Super Bowls and three NASCAR championships.  But he didn’t get everything right.  Any leader worth his salt can relate to that.  But what does Gibbs do upon recognizing it?

“I’m trying not to do the same thing again.”

AA defines insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  Gibbs is not doing that. He’s being intentional, starting now, and learning from his mistakes. He’s doing what he can to change the future outcome by changing his actions in the present. That’s a lesson that EVERY leader can learn from.  I sure am.

What leadership mistakes can you recognize in your own leadership thus far in your life?

How are you being intentional about learning from those regrets and mistakes?


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