A Safe Place For Mistakes

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Josh had just graduated from high school when I came to pastor in Cedar Springs. As I sat with this outstanding young man I asked him what he wanted to do next. 

“I’m not exactly sure,” he told me, “but I really feel like it’s something involved with ministry.” 

“Great!” I responded. “Let’s start experimenting.” 

I told Josh that our church was going to be a safe place to experiment: to plan new things, to try new things, to prayerfully evaluate the results, and then to use those results to plan new things. Josh jumped in right away, and over a short period of time we were eventually able to ascertain just how God had wired Josh for his niche of ministry. 

But this would have never happened without some missteps along the way. 

That’s okay. 

Leaders need to create an environment where it’s safe to make mistakes, because mistakes are a vital component of learning. 

My wife is a 3rd Grade teacher. A bulletin board in her classroom lovingly tells her students, “Our classroom is a safe place to make mistakes,” and then she gives them the keys to their successful learning. 

Leaders can help those around them grow through their mistakes by constantly reinforcing these six principles: 

  1. When someone complains, “This is too hard,” remind them, “This may take some time and effort.” 
  2. When someone says, “I’m not good at this,” prompt them to ask, “What am I missing?” and then encourage them to add, “I’m not good at this yet.” 
  3. When someone wants to settle with, “It’s good enough,” challenge them to ask themselves, “Have I given this my best effort?” 
  4. When someone wants to throw in the towel by saying, “I made a mistake,” remind them, “I failed is not the same thing as I am a failure,” and then remind them, “Mistakes help me learn.” 
  5. When someone is exasperated and says, “I give up,” come alongside them with, “Let’s try a strategy we’ve already learned.” 
  6. When someone says, “I can’t do this,” you need to lovingly encourage them with, “You can do this!” 

These responses will help foster an abundance-mindset environment where people aren’t defeated by their mistakes, but they’re energized to reengage and try again. As the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison quipped, “I’ve had a lot of success with failure.” 

Leaders, let’s make our spaces the safest places for the mistakes that lead to discovery, growth, and success. 

►► Would you please prayerfully consider supporting this ministry? My Patreon supporters get behind-the-scenes access to exclusive materials. ◀︎◀︎

%d bloggers like this: