Today I had a big project turn south. An upcoming change to critical IT infrastructure got delayed. My team was disappointed by the setback, and it was my fault. Sure, the project had many variables spread across a sea of shifting priorities, but it was mine to manage. The communication with our stakeholders was mine to own, to drive, to execute. And I failed.
As we worked through our options and lamented the myriad complications, my mind drifted back to a conversation I had earlier this year with my middle daughter. She was worried about starting a new school year. She felt like a failure and said she “would never be good at school”, that she was “stupid”. These are fighting words in our house, as I don’t tolerate anyone speaking like that about my children… even the children themselves.
At that time, I told her what would become a rallying cry for her in school and many other pursuits in life: ”We all have bad days. Today sounds like it was one of those. We can’t go back in time and work harder or learn more or change anything at all to avoid this bad day. All we can do is start right now, making every day a little bit better than the day before. If we do that, before long, our bad days become good days.”
The more I recalled that conversation with my daughter, the more I realized that the real failure of today was to focus on the bad day. I took my own advice to heart and went a step further… I vowed to start making every day a little bit better and to track my progress. Every day, I will make an intentional effort to improve my leadership, my organization and my company. I will make a difference and I will tell the story. By tracking each improvement on a daily basis, I’ll be able to articulate each small change that led to every significant improvement.
I challenge you to do the same. Make a difference. Don’t focus on failure. Focus on getting better. I started today.
Today I forgave myself. Today I started what I’ll finish. Today I practiced what I preach. Today I led by example. Today I got a little bit better at getting a little bit better.
Tomorrow, I’ll do it again. Will you?