I am curious how you are remembering the lessons you learn men, and how you put that learned knowledge into practice?
It’s true that we all make mistakes. What’s important is that we learn from our mistakes, right? Let me share just two mistakes I felt impressed upon to learn from.
About two years ago I had a friend who came to visit our family while we were living in Ecuador on the beach. She was staying in a place about a 10-minute walk up the beach from our house. She had been over for dinner and we had played some games. When it came time for her to leave it was dark. She said, “Hey does anybody want to walk with me home?”
In my mind I knew it was only a 10-minute walk and on a part of the beach that I considered very safe. I just didn’t see the need to walk with her. What I didn’t give weight to was that things can still happen to someone walking alone at night on the beach, and that she would probably feel tense walking home alone.
The next day I felt really bad about my decision for two reasons. First, I believed it was selfish of me not to exert myself for a 20 minute round trip walk to help a friend out. Second, there was still a risk something bad could have happened while she was walking home. What would have been the cost of my decision in that case?
I gave thought to all of this and found I really wasn’t proud of myself and the decision I made. I noted this as a lesson I wanted to remember, learn from, and make a different choice in the future.
I had an opportunity to practice what I learned from this lesson with the same person only a couple weeks ago while she was here in Medellin. I was visiting her where she was staying. When I headed home, she decided to walk back with me to the main area of town where I was catching a cab because she wanted to get an ice-cream.
It was a 15 minute walk along dark streets from where she was staying to this part of town. After she got her ice cream I chose to walk back with her. I remembered the lesson I learned. The lesson was don’t be selfish. It is ok to go out of your way to do something nice for someone else, and also decrease the risk of something bad happening.
I want to show up in the world as a man with a generous heart. This was one way I could do that. I remembered the lesson and acted on it.
Another lesson I learned and committed to remember happened several years ago. I was in a leadership training, and at the end of the weekend there was a review and feedback period from the leaders of the training.
They began giving feedback to a man who was my friend, and they were basically just ripping him a new one. I felt their comments weren’t objective, and I suspected there was some bias going on toward my friend, yet I didn’t say anything.
Many months later I talked to my friend about that event. He shared with me how it messed him up for many weeks following. This confirmed to me that I failed to show up as the man I intend to be with my friends. The learning piece for me is that when I think something is not right, speak up.
Back in that moment, I needed to have stood up, stopped the conversation, and have asked some important questions to discover if there was bias present or not. Even if the leadership believed everything they were saying was exactly true, it was an opportunity for me to support my friend when I believed he was being treated unfairly.
I know I will have an opportunity to try this learned lesson out in my life, because these things circle around like that. One of the great things about being alive men!
Learning from our mistakes enables us to make fewer of them in our lives moving forward. This allows us to show up consistently, in behavior and action, as the men we desire to be. This kind of behavior creates trust with others. With trust we can do incredible things working together.
So back to the question. What lessons have you learned and put into action?