A batik painting is wonderful example of beauty that is greater because of the cracks. There is a wonderful uncertainty that comes with the use of wax, dye, and the spaces in which colors change the artist canvas. As I start painting a new canvas with a new company and role, I am struck by the lessons that travel with me.
Experience is an odd teacher. There is learning in failure as well as success. One could argue that we fail to learn the lessons on both sides. With success, it is easy to assume that it was the outcome of our efforts. We forget to look at the actions of others, circumstances, and unseen forces. In my experience, others deserve most of the credit for my success! Acknowledging the cracks in what went well is a critical part of the learning and growing process.
Failure is an obvious teacher that we often ignore. In a process that best applies to success, I catch myself looking to the role others have in my failure with the intent of pushing the responsibility and accountability into their corner. It is instinct that is as old and natural as anything in life. Ultimately it is doomed to failure; in the quietness of the dark night, I can see the reasons for failure. Most of the reasons rest with me. I asked the questions, I weighed the choices, and I ultimately took the actions and made the decisions. Learning started with my acknowledgement.
I have been a fortunate beneficiary of great teams. Individuals, many I remember and others I wish I could, contributed. They willingly gave of their time and energy. In one case, a colleague made the ultimate sacrifice. I am better because of each contribution. I am able to talk of great success, amazing achievement, and awesome pinnacles.
In this chapter things are different. My story is the story of many. If truth is told, “I’m ready to tell my story of failure, I’m no longer smug in my sin.” (Psalm 38.18) In our cracks, true colors emerge.