I’m actually better at talking about my lack of success than about my successes. It’s who I am – Christian Asian American woman. I was taught Christians are humble. I was raised in an Asian American home where we spoke and considered community over the individual. As a woman I learned that speaking up meant being labeled as Arrogant. Aggressive. Ambitious, other “A” words and just other words with negative connotations.
But talking about failure gets tricky. It means airing out dirty laundry. It means showing vulnerability and need and weaknesses. It means being honest and accountable.
And in my book it means being a leader.
Sometimes we are to be like the servant girl who twice calls out Peter as one of the disciples. The Apostle Peter, the Rock, denies Christ for a third time, failing to align himself and own his relationship to Jesus.
“Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept.” Mark 14:72 TNIV
We’ve all failed miserably, and there are many times I’ve failed and wept. Too many times I’ve wept because I got “caught” in my failure and not quite ready to deal with the consequences and learn from my failures. Finding out I’m human shouldn’t be, but too often is, unnerving.
Next month a group of incredible Asian Pacific Islander women leaders will gather in Los Angeles to learn from one another about Leadership Over the Long Haul. (Registration is still open, to both men and women, and it is going to be an amazing time. Think about it!)
And I have the privilege of speaking on leadership failures and success. Not hypothetical failures or case-study failures. My failures.
Sounds like fun, no? The trick is I have a time limit. The Lord is merciful!
What are some examples of your real-life leadership failures? What did you learn about leadership? About yourself? About God? About others?